The Residence Hall Association (RHA) consists of five student executive members, oversees the complex councils and funds items and programs in the residence halls across campus.
RHA hosted a Casino Night in the Richardson and Olson halls on March 15. During this event, the RHA gave eight new pool cues to staff at the Richardson-Olson side of North Complex. The eight pool cues cost a combined total of $60.
Nathan Umberger-Erickson, a first-year nursing major, owns his own pool cue and he said he hopes the RHA will eventually address the lounges and basements in North Complex.
“The furniture in the basement needs to be replaced. The lounge could use an upgrade as well as most of the furniture is uncomfortable,” Umberger-Erickson said.
Sarah Porter Liddell, hall director for Richardson and Olson halls, and one of the advisors for RHA, said this purchase was in response to complaints from students regarding the quality of the pool cues.
“One of the things that happened at the Casino Night, they had a pool tournament, and they gave the new pool cues to the (Richardson and Olson) staff. So there are about 8 new pool sticks here… and it was just a way of saying thank you for pairing with RHA to do this Casino Night, and also we know that your residents have complained that you have a lot of sticks that don’t even have the little chalk piece at the top,” Liddell said.
Liddell said one of the “realistic improvements” that RHA is examining is the quality of its pool tables.
“Housing already has a project in place for new furniture in all of the lounges,” said Liddell. “Obviously, in their minds, they would love to be able to buy brand new pool tables for every hall, but their budget is not sufficient enough to do that. So, they have to think wisely and working with FM (facilities management) to get pool tables fixed and stable or working with our operations crew to get that done.”
Liddell said attendance is one of the biggest factors that contribute to the RHA’s budget. She said anywhere from 200 to 300 people attend RHA events and programs on average.
“The amount of spending that we do is based on student bodies, so we wouldn’t be spending more than the allotted amount per the amount of attendance that we have at a program,” she said. “We’re very strategic about making sure our budget for our program matches our anticipated audience.”
Liddell said the budget for RHA is important for planning events, such as Casino Night, as well as hall improvement projects.
“They’re doing as much as they can to meet the student needs, but they also are in a position where their budget is not unlimited,” Liddell said.
Liddell said RHA is not allowed to make any significant purchases without the approval of its General Assembly, which consists of a president and vice president who act as liaisons for the Complex Councils of each residence hall.
“RHA is not just one single operating unit. Complex Council is a branch underneath it. So there’s programming and funds that go directly to Complex Council that even RHA can’t touch,” Liddell said. “So, a lot of the complaints that the student body may have, they should be looking for their Complex Council representatives.”
Complex Council is an organization run by students who are voting members of RHA. A graduate assistant oversees each complex council. Complex Council holds either weekly or bi-weekly meetings in the buildings they represent and the residents of those buildings can attend those meetings to see how their complex council plans on using its funds for programming, Liddell said.
Ashley Hartnett, assistant housing director, said students ought to become more involved with RHA if they have concerns with how the RHA spends their money.
“My biggest recommendation for students is get involved, because that’s where the conversation starts. We want you to be a part of our hall council. We want you to be a part of Residence Hall Association and our general assembly meetings, but if you don’t come, your voice is not there at the table,” Hartnett said.
Hartnett said the RHA’s Constitution is a useful resource for students if they are curious about the RHA’s budget. Hartnett said the RHA’s occupancy number projections (how many students will be living in the Residence Halls) influences how their money is allocated.
“It’s always a vote with our student body, and if there’s a significant purchase, then it’s usually run through an advisor team just to make sure that we didn’t have any questions or concerns about how the money is being used,” Hartnett said.