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Residence Hall Association to unite present organizations, committees

April 30, 2009

Students who live in UW-River Falls residence halls gave their approval by voting for the formation of the Residence Hall Association for next fall semester.

According to the Residence Hall Association information guide, “The UW-River Falls Residence Hall Association will act as the primary governance body regarding policies, procedures and decision-making with respect to the campus residence halls.”

“Students could vote until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 130 students voted in favor, 19 against,” Tracy Gerth, Residence Life area coordinator, said. “It is what we were hoping for; this will really help student leadership. It will consolidate and make a more effective and more efficient campus, a step forward for this campus.”

According to Sandra Scott-Duex, director of Residence Life, only students who live in the residence halls on campus were allowed to vote on April 27 and 28 regarding the outcome of the association.

The reason behind RHA is to ultimately improve the campus.

“There has been an interest with students and I believe students that live on-campus have unique needs and concerns,” Scott-Duex said. “RHA will bring the current residence hall committees and organizations under one umbrella.”

One UWRF student supported the Residence Hall Association.

“It will allow them to build concise goals,” student Jenny Anderson said. “It will be better for everyone because they will all be on the same page.”

The new association will bring any organization or committee that is directed towards the dormitory halls into one group.

According to Mark Klapatch, Student Senate member, Area Council, Residential Living committee and National Resident Hall Honorary will all combine and make up the Residence Hall Association.

RHA will assist the campus in an unifying manner.

According to the Residence Hall Association Web site, “RHA will work to provide additional opportunities for residence hall students to partake in leadership positions in regards to programming, fundraising, and overall leadership development on a state, regional and national level.”

Beyond the structured duties and responsibilities, RHA will strive to be there for students as well.

“I hope that RHA becomes incredibly visible on-campus, students know what RHA is, improve campus experience for students and be incredibly close with the professional staff,” Scott-Duex said.

RHA will begin deciding details and the planning process this summer, yet the fall of 2009 is not the first time RHA has been a part of the UWRF campus.

“Years ago, there was an RHA, but it was disbanded,” Scott-Duex said. “All UW schools have an RHA except UW-Madison and River Falls at the moment.”
According to Klapatch, UWRF had a RHA in 2003-04.

“There are several schools in the UW System that are in the creating process, including UW-Superior,” Gerth said. “In the past, other schools like UWRF may have got their RHA cut due to a budget cut and other reasons as well,” Gerth said.

Each committee and organization that will be united to make RHA will see alterations in the fall.

According to the Residence Hall Association information guide, Res Living and Area Council will no longer exist. Within RHA, there will be separate committees that will deal with all of the agenda items Res Living currently deals with, as well as various committees that will cover the responsibilities of the two current Area Councils. The National Residence Hall Honorary will continue to exist in the fall, yet they will concentrate on their original duties.

“NRHH will now be able to do what they are supposed to do,” Scott-Duex said. “Leadership, recognition and service has taken the spot of the past RHA since it ended.”

RHA has been voted on and approved by the students of the University. The next step is to bring the association to the campus for the benefit of the students.
Overall, the positive change to the campus will bring improvements and a step forward for the campus.

“RHA could be the next big thing on campus,” Klapatch said. “So get excited.”