RHA improves government officer training

Stephanie Haines, Reporter

The Residence Hall Association has modified its training for hall government officers this year, increasing the focus on budgeting, program planning, constitutional review and student group involvement.

Training for this year’s officers took place Wednesday night, one week after the elections.

Karen Rosenthal, area coordinator for residential life, wrote in an email that 79 students in total were elected to government positions in 12 halls. The three special interest housing groups, which include Group Residence for Environmental Education at Northwestern House, Interfaith Hall and the female music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, hold their hall government elections in the spring quarter.

RHA oversees 12 residential hall governments and three special interest housing groups, including Bobb-McCulloch Hall, Elder Residential Community and Rogers House.

Before the elections, residential halls held informational sessions and munchies where residents could meet the candidates, Rosenthal wrote in the email.

Mirza Drino, president of the RHA executive board, said he is excited to begin the year with a new assembly of hall government leaders. As an overarching governing body, RHA serves as the “catalyst” that connects all the residence halls, Drino said.

“Having lived in a small dorm, I still managed to make friends freshman and sophomore year,” the Weinberg junior said. “I saw firsthand how influential it is to make friends in a residence hall.”

Drino said the RHA executive board is planning new programming events throughout the year and will keep events from past years, such as formals and munchies.

Social dues paid by students feed into residence halls’ budgets. RHA’s budget is supplemented by money from each dorm, which is proportional to the number of students living there. Residential hall social dues come back to residents through RHA events such as Rock the Beach, Drino said.

Most residence halls spend their social budgets on munchies, clothing and occasional formals, Drino said.

Some residence hall elections are characterized by a general lack of student interest in both voting and campaigning. Weinberg sophomore Josh Morman president of Bobb-McCulloch,  said there did not seem to be much interest in running for any position on hall government because not many people want to “step up and make residential life a good year.”

Morman ran against two freshmen because he thought his experience living in a residence hall last year made him a qualified candidate, he said.

“While freshmen do a really good job, there are some things they don’t know,” he said. “People are really into their halls Fall Quarter, but once winter and spring quarter come around and people join fraternities or sororities, they become really detached.”

Morman said he sees a divide between the freshmen and sophomores who populate Bobb-McCulloch. He said he hopes he can bring the residents together more through programming.

“The way I see it is that people live in residence halls at most two years,” Morman said. “I hope this will be a really good year, and people can look back and say, “Yeah, I lived in Bobb.’”