Benefits of better leadership — RHA restructures residence leadership to better serve its members
Brett Kohring, University of Idaho Residence Hall Association president, said the RHA has shifted its organization to better serve its members and mission statement.“I would say our transition has been smooth, energetic and fun,” Kohring said.
The RHA represented 21 independent residence halls last year, which made communication and event-planning difficult. This year, Kohring said, specific hall representatives will report to executives in each of the five residence communities —Theophilus Tower, Wallace Complex, Living Learning Community, McConnell Hall and Targhee Hall — under the umbrella oversight of the RHA. Each community and particular residence hall will have its own budget and be able to set up its own events separate from the general RHA calendar.
Kohring said the RHA executive board engaged in much research and conversation to set up this reorganization. The board members investigated RHA constitutions from institutions of various sizes and locations, including the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, Regis University in Denver, University of Northern Colorado and University of North Carolina.
Kohring said in addition to increased leadership opportunities, educational programs and community service outlets, the RHA likes to have a lot of fun and hall members can freely join in other halls’ events.
“We love inclusivity and bringing people together,” he said.
One benefit of the structural shift, he said, will be larger programs with more people involved, which will attract more students and allow the programs to grow.
The RHA executive board worked hard to educate its staff, residence assistants and general residents about the new policies and to fill elected positions. Twenty-four officers have recently been elected, he said, and such breadth of leadership will lead to a stronger voice for residents.
“The RHA is about advocating for its residents, and by having more student leaders they can have more advocates for their concerns,” Kohring said.
Brian Roach, RA in French Hall in the Tower, said the new structure will make hall operations more open to the community and allow more people to contribute to discussions about expenditures for events and other purchases.
He said everyone will be on the same page throughout the residence community. RAs will also have more ability to interact with other halls instead of isolating events to their own areas, he said.
The RHA will receive proposals and decide the final budgets for each living community and residence hall next week, Roach said. The new system shows promise, but open dialogue is crucial for its success.
“We need to keep communication with the RHA to make sure we’re conveying the right info to them, so that way the new system can work to its best potential,” Roach said.
Matt Maw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org