Life on the RHA Side
April 25, 2016|Posted in: On Campus
Zach Avis is freshman international studies and economics double major from Prior Lake, Minnesota. He joined the Residence Hall Association in the fall of 2015 and will serve on its Executive Board next year.
Unsure what to do with the ample time I had at the beginning of my first semester, I began the hunt for organizations to join. Having heard about the upcoming Anderson Hall Council election, I began to look into the Residence Hall Association. Realizing that it was too late to run for any position, I thought I had missed my chance at joining the organization. Luckily, I was wrong. After finding and applying for a deputy position under the executive board, I got an email saying that I had been given the Deputy of Advocacy and Community Coordination position. Thrilled for what was ahead, I did more research into the organization.
The American University Residence Hall Association is the second largest governing body at AU. Advocating for the nearly 4,000+ students who live on campus, the RHA is comprised of elected Hall Council members, an Executive Board, and an Administrative Board that work towards making life on campus more enjoyable for students. Each hall has a president and vice presidents of advocacy, programming, finance, and recognition. Meeting at the weekly General Assembly, each respective hall council member works with their corresponding executive board member to put on different programming and advocacy events throughout the year. In addition to various events, hall council members have the opportunity to present resolutions that go to the floor for debate. These resolutions, if passed, give students a platform to advocate for changes in the residence halls that would better student living.
During my time as Deputy of Advocacy and Community Coordination (hereon referred to as ACC), I worked with the Vice President of ACC and the rest of the executive board. From following the changes being made to various policies in the residence halls, to helping out at the different programming events during the semester, my role in the organization gave me a multi-faceted look into the RHA’s role in residence hall life. Moreover, in working with such a diverse group of individuals, I constantly got to witness the dedication and passion that each member had towards bettering the lives of residents on campus.
This past week, for example, the RHA worked to improve sustainability measures on campus. Setting up tables in a majority of the residence halls, members of the Residence Hall Association set up a jeopardy game on composting in order to inform students about which trash receptacles took what pieces of trash. To top it off, we even had an Earth Day carnival on the quad; full of live animals, fresh produce, and prizes for those who could correctly identify what to do with different types of trash. Events like these are what make RHA stand out the most in my mind. Engaging with residents and advocating for a better campus life, are both aspects of an organization that works for the students.
Throughout my first year in the Residence Hall Association, I have made countless friends and connections. Getting to watch the dedication and passion of fellow students each week is incredible, but watching the relationships that these passionate students form with one another is even more amazing. Having enjoyed my experience and wanting to continue to improve the lives of residents on campus, I decided to run for Vice President of Advocacy and Community Coordination. It’s hard to believe that an organization I joined first semester on a whim could have such a special place in my heart. I look forward to the upcoming year and the opportunities that I will have working alongside the other new executive board members. College can get crazy at times, but stepping into life on the RHA side is something that I don’t see myself coming to regret.
To learn more about Zach and the rest of the Ambassadors, click here.