Elections for positions in the Residence Hall Association for the 2018-19 academic year were held on April 8. Positions were available exclusively to current residents living in the On-Campus Living community.
The Residence Hall Association is the student governing body for the residence halls and apartments of UAA. RHA hosts open forums discussing the concerns of residents, helps create new policies and plans events for students. Members of RHA have a voice in the governance of the university through a voting seat in USUAA.
According to Ryan Hill, RHA advisor, members of RHA have a wide variety of responsibilities.
“Common responsibilities and requirements are maintaining a 2.50 cumulative GPA, building and maintaining positive relationships with other organizations on campus and setting goals to accomplish together for the year,” Hill said.
Other requirements include holding three weekly office hours and executing one social program per month.
The positions available in this year’s election were president, vice president, national communications coordinator, business and administration manager and advocacy and outreach coordinator. Of the five positions, three were filled, with the rest to be appointed throughout the next year, according to Hill.
Sarah Gray, third-year nursing major, ran for and was elected as president for the next academic year. The position was recommended to her by current president Alexis Harvey.
Gray wishes to continue the work that Harvey put in during her time as president.
“[My plan is] to continue to push for the policies and activities supported by Alexis Harvey, and be open to listening to more suggestions made by students. The thing I want to accomplish most is making sure that students feel listened to,” Gray said.
Duties of RHA president include formulating agendas for all meetings, preparing a budget for the fiscal year, acting as the official spokesperson and having signature authority for RHA and representing the concerns of RHA to administrators at UAA and members of the community.
Gray has experience as a delegate for USUAA, member of the Seawolf Debate team and Resident Advisor. She feels these opportunities have helped her gain effective communication skills, and have prepared her for the RHA president position.
“My motto truly is ‘Sarah Gray… Willing to make it work,’” Gray said. “I can’t promise the world to students, but what I can promise is that the student’s interests and needs will be heard and expressed to those who need to hear it.”
Dakota Seibert, a sophomore in mechanical engineering and Resident Advisor, was elected into the vice president position. RHA recently passed new bylaws to create the official position of vice president, according to Seibert, making him the first.
Seibert hopes to promote the growth of the Residence Hall Association through his new role as vice president.
“I want to work with Residence Life and the campus as a whole to get people more involved with RHA,” Seibert said. “It’s a really good stepping stone for someone who wants to go on to join USUAA or something like that, so it would be helpful for students to start here in RHA and branch out later.”
The main duty of vice president will be communicating with the student and staff representatives from Residence Life, helping them connect with residents and attend RHA meetings. Seibert would also step in as president if the current president is no longer able to continue.
Kris Morse, a senior applied technologies leadership major, will be RHA’s national communications coordinator for the second year in a row. Morse ran for a second time because he felt that he “had just gotten into what changes need to happen to improve the living experience for residents on-campus,” and has set goals for himself to accomplish in the coming year.
“Some of the projects I hope to accomplish this year are increasing dining options, improving the internet connection issues and improving the maintenance of pathways and parking lots during the winter,” Morse said.
Morse believes that being involved with RHA is always beneficial.
“It is the best way for the resident’s voices to be heard, and a way for them to provide input on any changes that may occur,” Morse said. “It also allows for individuals to advocate for the needs of their fellow residents.”
The final Residence Hall Association general assembly meeting of the semester will take place on April 22 in the Gorsuch Commons lower dining room.