Residence Hall Association

Originally submitted by: Erica Skuta, Drake University, Nov 3, 2010



Origin of the Organization:

Arguably one of the most important aspects to college is the community in the residence hall. At Drake University the Residence Hall Association (RHA) strives to make all students comfortable in their halls. The purpose of RHA according to Sean Walsh (President of 2010-2011 RHA) is, "RHA’s motto is 'making halls into homes,' so we offer diverse programming for the residence hall community, provide a united voice representing the members of our Executive Board and all of the Hall Executive Councils to the University, and we act as a liaison to the Office of Residence Life." RHA was created before 1950, to oversee programs in the residence halls, University programing, and student activities. But the creation of the Student Activities Board (SAB) and Student Senatehas driven the RHA’s main focus on programming in the residence halls. The RHA were initially known as Interdorm Councils and there were separate Interdorm Councils for men and women, because the dorms were segregated by gender. [1] In 1969 the name of the residence council was the Women's and Men's Residence Association. Then in 1972 they were combined to create the RHA that is still active on campus. The RHA has a specific week each year that is dedicated to hall programs and help raise awareness for the residents in the halls to get out and get involved in all of the fun activities happening in the halls.

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Women's Residence Hall Association 1971 - The Quax 1971
RHA Board:

The RHA board is a board of elected or appointed members; these members are elected in the spring prior to their year that they will serve on the board. The elected positions are; president, vice president, campus communication coordinator, environmental chair, service chair, and publicity co-chairs. The elected officials interview and appoint the remaining positions; secretary, treasurer, and historian. Also included on the Executive Board are eight hall presidents, two Resident Assistants (an upper classman hall RA and a first year hall RA), the National Residence Hall Honorary President, and the National Communication Coordinator who serves as the contact to the Midwest Association of College and University Residence Halls. The RHA Board meets in Olmsted and the resource office for RHA, Office of Residence Life, is located in the lower level of Olmsted [2].

Residence Halls Executive Councils:

Each residence hall on campus has an Executive Council that is elected with in the first three weeks by the residents of their hall. The members of the hall’s executive council meet with the elected officials on the RHA board to discuss all of the events occurring in the residence halls. Each hall has an elected council that is made up of at least 15 members.

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RHA Board 1986 - The Quax 1986
Positions/Expectations:

President- oversee planning and execution of hall projects, oversee EC meetings
Vice-President - preside over EC meetings in the absence of the President, accept additional duties assigned by the President, be a permanent member of the RHA Programming Board
Finance Chair - responsible for all monies collected, serve on the RHA Finance Committee, coordinate with EC members when spending funds
Secretary - record all meeting minutes, distribute minutes, and submit a copy of the hall's minutes to the Historian
Hall Communications Coordinator - submit monthly articles for RHA publications, submit OTMs each month, responsible for maintaining the hall's webpage
Historian - compile detailed documentation about events, create the Hall of the Year Bid
Publicity Co-Chairs - responsible for publicizing, serve on the RHA Publicity Committee
Programming Chair - present new ideas to the EC, chair the floor representative committee board, attend RHA programming board meetings
Environmental Chair - plan and coordinate environmental action projects, oversee the hall's recycling program, serve on the RHA environmental committee
Service Chair - responsible for coordinating community service projects, serve on the RHA service committee
Floor Representatives/Intermural Chair - monitor the circulation of the Stallseat Journal for their floor, responsible for creating intermural teams[3]


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RHA Board 2009
The Executive Council (EC) creates programs for the hall. EC’s have to create the programs, finance the programs, and publicize the events. These programs can be social, alcohol alternative, educational, diversity or service. The purpose of the programs is to bring the hall together and to create community. Also it gives residents from different floors a chance to get to know one another. The EC also takes care of the recycling for the hall. Each Sunday night the EC goes around and collects all of the resident's recycling. There are six residence halls on Drake’s campus. The first year residence halls are Stalnaker, Crawford, Carpenter, and Herriott. Morehouse also has a few first year floors, but the rest of the hall is upper classman. Jewett, Ross, and Goodwin-Kirk are the other upper classman residence halls. Each of the halls has their own special annual event.

Stalnaker – Halloween Dance[4]
Crawford – Club Crawford/Crawford Olympics
Carpenter – Coffeehouse
Herriott – Chris Redding Flag Football Tournament
Jewett – Jewett Air Band
Morehouse – Morguehouse
Goodwin-Kirk - No Annual Event
Ross - Dodgeball and Kickball Tournament[2]

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Stalnaker Casino Night - The Quax 1984
Events/Activities:

RHA Week - a week that consists of programs put on by each of the residence halls and a large campus-wide event put on by the RHA Board. Each year there is a different theme to the week, some themes in the past have been, "Bring Out the Best", "8 Wonders of the World", and "Get A Clue". [5]
Siblings Weekend - RHA sponsors a weekend for students to invite their siblings down to campus. Each residence hall creates a program similar to the programs during RHA Week.
Other Events - there are many other events that the RHA sponsors throughout the year, and many times they collaborate with other organizations to put on events. 2010-2011 RHA President Sean Walsh expresses his excitement for the 2010-2011 events hosted by RHA, "This year I am really looking forward to the Celebrate Drake lock-in that will be taking place on October 8th. RHA will be contributing with Student Life, Student Senate, SAB, and several other great organizations to put on an all-night party that will have bands, comedians, game shows, a pancake breakfast, giveaways, food, crafts, competitions, a pie-in-the-face competition, lazer tag, and a ton of other activities. RHA will be hosting the Singing Bee competition, which will be really fun!" [2]
Stallseat Journal - The Stallseat Journal is a weekly journal conveniently hung in bathroom stalls. The Stallseat is written by the Hall Communication
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"Feel Like Dancin" Event during "Bring Out the Best" RHA Week 1985 - The Quax 1985
Coordinators and it provides a place for organizations to publicize and for information to be accessed by all residents. Each hall's Communications Coordinator gets a section in the Stallseat to relay information to their fellow residents and make announcements for everyone to see .[2]

Movie List - Another main component of the RHA is the movie list. This is a list of movies that is chosen by the Vice-Presidents and the Programing Chairs of the halls. These movies are played in cycle on the Drake Movie Channel; the movies are current and usually new releases. On average there are about 10 movies that play in a cycle, these movies play for a month and then new movies are released.
"OTM" - A new addition to RHA as of 2010 is the awarding of "Of the Month" (OTM) Awards. These are awards in all different categories; advisors, community, programs, executive board member, faculty/staff, organization, residence assistant, spotlight and students. All hall EC Boards are required to write a least 5 OTMs each month, but also anyone on campus can participate and nominate others to receive and OTM. All of the OTM nominations are submitted and reviewed. A decision is made as to who or what wins the OTMs and then these winners advance onto the Regional competition of OTMs. If the person, organization, or program wins a Regional OTM it then moves onto the National level where the OTM can receive national recognition for the outstanding work. [2]
"Hall of the Year" - Each year there is an intense competition for one of the halls to be named “Hall of the Year”. Halls spend all year preparing to present themselves as the best hall. The main job of the historian is to document all activities and programs that take place throughout the year and then at the end of the year they are to compile all of the pictures and information in a creative way to pitch the “Hall of the Year” bid. [2]

The Importance of RHA
The residence halls are a crucial part of student's first two years on campus. RHA strives to make the transition process as easy as possible by working hard to create a welcoming atmosphere. Sean Walsh, President of RHA 2010-2011, remarks on this, "Nearly half of Drake students live on campus in residence halls, so it is vital that we have diverse and fun programming for those students." The programs are designed to educate and to bring a sense of community to the halls. Walsh sums up RHA's importance by saying that, "The organization has such an important impact for so many people living on campus, and it is also a great leadership experience."

Reference:

[1] Residence hall association. (1991). The Quax, 87. Retrieved from http://ddr.lib.drake.edu/u?/yearbooks,24293
[2] (S. Walsh, personal communication, September 29, 2010.)
[3] (2010). Executive council election packet.
[4] (1982). The Quax, 79. Retrieved from http://ddr.lib.drake.edu/u?/yearbooks,20066
[5] Traditions "bringing out the best" in halls. (1985). The Quax, 82. Retrieved from http://ddr.lib.drake.edu/u?/yearbooks,22846