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UWRF residence halls honored at annual Great Lakes regional conference

December 9, 2011

UW-River Falls has won mid-size school of the year for 2011 at the Great Lakes Association of College and Residence Halls (GLACURH).

The conference, which was held at the Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., from Friday, Nov. 4, to Sunday, Nov. 6, brought together residence life leaders from the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and the providence of Ontario.

According to their website, GLACURH is a student-run organization working to promote student life on college and university campuses all across the region. Through the organizations of the school, their mission is to provide members of the school with resources for the exchange of information to improve their campus climate and develop strong leaders at their respective universities. This gets achieved through meetings, informational materials, and the annual conference, which serves to foster the exchange of ideas. The primary focus of this group is to provide quality programming and activities for on-campus residents that will make their college experience a positive one.

At the conference, leaders had an opportunity to exchange information, meet new people, gain leadership skills and focus on issues regarding residence halls such as alcohol, gay and transgender issues, and safety issues. UWRF is a member and participates in this conference annually. The organization accepts bids from schools each year in numerous categories, including school of the year.

“Our national communications coordinator, Becky Ballweg, decided to nominate UWRF for ‘School of the Year’ to highlight all the great things happening on campus” said Tracy Gerth, a residence hall coordinator at the University. Ballweg has worked with other offices on campus to write and design the bid, and gathered letters of support from the director of Residence Life and Student Rights and Responsibilities along with the Chancellor to be included in the bid.

At the conference there are three schools of the year: a large, mid-sized, and small school category. Judges then vote between all three winners of these categories to determine who will represent GLACURH at the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). UWRF was selected to move on to the national level. Some of the criteria for judging the schools are goals and programs accomplished, perceived student benefits, community service, and addressing challenging issues.

This is the first year that UWRF has won this competition. “It is an honor for UWRF to receive this award and to be selected as the representative university for all schools in Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois,” said Gerth. “Since this award is decided by students from across the GLACURH region, it also means that other schools can see the great programs and updates that we are working on to improve the experience for all River Falls students.”