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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

RHA aims to improve campus housing experience

Next time you have an issue with your residence hall or university apartment, before you run and cry to Marquette Student Government, consider taking it up with the Residence Hall Association, a group of students dedicated specifically toward improving university-owned housing.

The RHA has the specific task of representing and listening to suggestions by students who live in one of the nine residence halls or the university-owned apartments on campus.

The organization consists of 27 representatives and an executive board — very similar to the structure of MUSG — and meets each week to discuss potential improvements to campus housing.

The organization also features a relatively hefty budget of $45,000 going toward the roughly 3,000 students the RHA represents, according to David Spence, RHA president and a senior in the College of Business Administration. Spence said there are different sources for the budget, but the Office of Residence Life is the primary provider of funds.

Spence said what distinguishes the RHA from MUSG — which has a budget of more than $500,000 — is that RHA specifically focuses on the needs of students in the residence halls or apartments, whereas MUSG also addresses off-campus issues.

He said while the groups sometimes work together, the RHA can be more in touch with the student body because it works with a smaller demographic of students. An example he cited is that all RHA members have a university meal plan, whereas MUSG upperclassmen won’t all be eating Marquette-offered food.

Marisa Galvez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and RHA executive vice president, said one of RHA’s focuses is helping students adjust to independent living at the beginning of each semester with various programs.

Galvez also said RHA helps pay for programming around campus where MUSG may not have allocated funds.

Among improvements she wants to see is better consistency with what is offered in different cafeterias.

“Overall, though, I am pleased with Sodexo,” she said.

But the advantage of having RHA on campus is that it offers another leadership opportunity for students on campus, according to Christy Bergen, RHA program advisor and assistant dean for Residence Life Programs.

“The purpose of RHA is two-fold,” Bergen said in an e-mail. “The first is to serve as a liaison for residential students to the Office of Residence Life. … The second is to provide events and activities that cater to the students living in the halls or university-owned apartments.”

Bergen also said the RHA plans a number of activities each year on Marquette’s campus such as Miracle on Central Mall, MU Game Show and Lil’ Sibs Weekend.

Spence also said the main initiative from the RHA so far this year is a “Performing Arts Floor” that will be incorporated into one residence hall in fall 2012. Spence said it will function like the Dorothy Day Service floor in Straz Tower, where students are required to take certain classes together and attend different social events. The “Performing Arts Floor” will be aimed at those interested in acting or playing music, among other performing arts.

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