The Residence Hall Association (RHA) will hold its annual end-of-year award ceremony, The Golden Joes, to honor exceptional staff and students within the residence halls.
RHA President Tommy Burke said the Golden Joe, a bronze trophy in the shape of a Vandal, is awarded to the people who were the most involved in RHA. Burke said the award honors people who encouraged the most students to get involved in the community, putting on the most events, doing the most to spread awareness of RHA, or working to build a better sense of community in their building.
He said RHA staff include Resident Assistants (RAs), Academic Peer Mentors (APMs) and Area Coordinators.
RHA National Communications Coordinator Allison Stevens said the award principally recognizes the students, so there are a lot of awards for them. There are nine awards for students for the various positions they can hold in the community council, which represents each residence hall. Stevens said there is also a Faculty Member of the Year Award and a Program of the Year Award.
Burke said there are currently 94 people in RHA, which is the most there have ever been – last year, by comparison, RHA had 42 people. Burke said there were a lot more people involved in the nomination and awarding process this year, and about 180 people submitted a nomination for the different awards.
Stevens said the ceremony has grown significantly just in the last few years, going from having 30 or 40 nominations to 161 nominations for this year”s award. Stevens said this year”s event will be the largest ever.
Stevens said there are three nominations for the program of the year – the LLC Olympics, a three-day competition between the Living Learning Communities; the Tower Trick or Treat, which has been nominated every year since it started; and the Yule Ball, a large dance party at the beginning of the semester.
Stevens said she”s been planning the ceremony for the last eight months. Stevens said she reserved three ballrooms in the Best Western University Inn, and the ceremony will be a formal attire dance and reception. Stevens said the doors will open at 5 p.m. and dessert will be served.
Stevens said that after the award ceremony the RHA will swear in their new executive board, which was elected a couple of weeks ago. The ceremony will be followed by a dance.
“I think it”s just noteworthy that five years ago this ceremony, as it”s called now, was people meeting in the Whitewater Room with it set up like a classroom, receiving printed-off certificates, and it”s turned into a full on banquet with extremely expensive catering and full on trophies and medals that we hand out instead of just a little piece of paper,” Stevens said. “It”s definitely grown a lot.”
Ryan Locke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org