Whether you are an incoming freshman or have already spent several semesters at the university, you may often feel like your student voice is insignificant and undervalued. With no clear guidance, you may be feeling unsure in your attempt to be a student leader. Fortunately, the Residence Hall Association provides a unique, exciting opportunity for any resident to become involved in the vital decisions that affect our campus residents.
The RHA has two main functions: to create and host quality programs for community building in the dorms and to advocate and recommend policies to the campus administration that convey student interests. We simply ask you to be involved.
Every academic year, representatives from each hall/community are elected by their peers to represent their particular community. This helps to make the very large campus smaller and more accessible to the students. Hall and area councils are encouraged by the RHA to host programs that reflect the interests of their residents. Over the years, many successful events have become highly anticipated traditions. Cumberland’s North Campus Luau, the South Campus Commons Block Party and the Denton Halloween Dance are just a few of these yearly events, besides countless midnight breakfasts, talent competitions and casino nights. With new minds come new ideas, and yours could be the next big thing.
As one of the most prominent and influential student governing organizations on campus, we function as a liaison between students and administrators by lobbying for student issues and pushing for the positive changes you want to see. We hold priority influence on issues concerning four departments of Student Affairs: Resident Life, Residential Facilities, Dining Services and Transportation. We also have begun promoting sustainability initiatives within and outside the dorms.
In the past we’ve successfully advocated for Online Room Selection, so no more running to a crowded room in the Stamp Student Union to choose your new room. We advocated for the removal of focus dates for all students, and opting out of focus dates is now a click away on the Dining Services website. We weighed in and supported the new Debit Card Readers for your laundry machines and this year we plan to continue tackling issues like the development of the new Denton dining facility, Amethyst Dialogues that revolve around alcohol consumption on campus and making sure the resident voice continues to be heard.
Whether you are interested in programming, policy or both, the RHA wants you to make connections, make new friends, build your resume and make a difference on campus. We encourage all to attend our annual Open House on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Cambridge Community Center or Courtyards Community Center, where you can ask specific questions about how to be involved in the organization.
To learn more, visit our website, www.marylandrha.com, and add us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandRHA. Applications are due on Sept. 11, and elections will be held online Wednesday, Sept. 16 and Thursday Sept. 17. Don’t miss your chance to be part of a highly respected organization whose voice is always heard — be involved.
Public Relations and Outreach Officer, RHA