The Residence Hall Association (RHA) is an important and beneficial organization on campus and it is full of great people. RHA is an organization through which you can expand your circle or begin a new one. RHA is something that everyone should be familiar with because it significantly impacts residential life here on campus. Students not involved in RHA should realize that a part of their tuition goes towards funding this organization and take advantage to what RHA has to offer. RHA is responsible for planning events, improving buildings, getting students opinions heard and keeping supplies at each hall’s front desk. RHA has three levels: the executive board, hall councils and the floor president. There are great positions to hold in each level and they should all get equal respect.
While the executive board of RHA is hugely important, their actions are not as apparent as the other two levels’ actions. The executive board is comprised of upperclassmen who discuss current events on campus. People on this board have an opportunity to travel to the IACURH (Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls) conference. The conference this year will take place at Colorado State University and focus on new ways to make housing more fun and comfortable while obtaining valuable leadership skills. This conference is one of the few situations where schools, and their respective hall association members, can work collaboratively to solve problems that are inherent in communal living situations and respond to new issues as they arise. The executive board then creates a better living environment here at MSU with the information they learn.
Some question the efficacy of sending the executive board to the conference since tuition dollars are used to fund the trip; however, the costs of the trip pale in comparison to the opportunities for growth that the trip provides. Two heads truly are better than one, and by putting all of the heads of all of the schools that attend IACURH together, there is the potential to drastically improve not only residential life at MSU, but also to improve residential life at other colleges by sharing ideas from MSU. This could have far-ranging impacts on the college and its students. A better student-living situation could drastically increase our retention rate and possibly even the graduation rate. A solid residential situation is the foundation for effective learning, so ideas taken from other colleges could make MSU even better as a learning institution.
While the executive board and IACURH are important, the hall councils set up dorm events and are the people that students live with. Hall councils will impact residential life here at Montana State the most. Every time students go to a dorm or housing-based event, these are the people who will have planned the event, prepared for the event and are actively running the event with the goals of having fun and improving the MSU student-life experience. These are students who are elected to represent the students in their dorms. Get to know these people! Let them know what needs to be done around residence halls or recommend activities that would be fun to host. Two examples of events that hall councils hold are Duct Tape Your RA and Life of the Party, which includes a night full of gambling and mocktails. Those who are interested should get to know their hall council members and consider joining RHA. This is a great way to positively influence the school and dorms on campus.
The last level of RHA consists of the floor president. Floor presidents help their RAs. The RA is the Godfather. If someone says, “Leave the gun, but take the Cannoli,” either a floor president just got instructions, or someone is not taking nerf wars seriously enough. Presidents help make posters to keep residents informed and make sure the floor is running efficiently. Those who are passionate about the community in which they live should take the opportunity to meet and talk to their RHA members about any ideas or concerns they have. Joining RHA and giving them the tools to do their jobs effectively makes MSU a better university for years to come.