OPINION: by Olivia Dunn

St. Catherine University’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) is primarily known for one thing: programs. Programs such as Grocery Bingo and Late Night Breakfast have been popular with St. Kate’s student for years. But are you aware of what else RHA can do for you?

“One of our team goals is to be known on campus as a resident resource and increase active participation/membership” says Franceska Moua, Sociology and Women in International Development double major, ’20. Moua was elected RHA president for the 2017-2018 school year. “Many resident students don’t recognize all the resources our organization has to offer.”

RHA holds bi-weekly forums known as General Assemblies. Any student, resident or nonresident, is welcome to attend. At these meetings, students can voice concerns, suggest ideas for programs, or request items to improve the halls. In the past, RHA has provided residents with water filters, radios, and removable showerheads.

“Even if residents do not have a specific request or concern, we still encourage them to attend,” says Moua. “It is important they know that we are their representatives; their needs can and will be heard not only by RHA but also at the administrative level.”

Building community is another one of RHA’s primary focuses. Last August, RHA coined a new tagline to encompass this mission: “Find Your Home Away From Home.” “Student response has been very strong to the new tagline,” says Kalley Seeger, Marketing major, ’19. Seeger is the RHA publicity chair for the 2017-2018 school year and has spearheaded rebranding efforts. “I think it’s something that a lot of people can identify with, especially first-years.”

St. Kate’s is home to 730 resident students, all from different backgrounds. Many of these students live out-of-state or internationally. Additionally, a significant portion of the residents are first-year students. These factors can make life in the residence halls feel lonely and isolating.

“You leave one home, the one you have known for all your life, and you expect to go to college and find a replacement home,” says Seeger. “For some people that is really easy, which is great, but for others, this can be more of a struggle, a long-term journey of sorts.”

To build community, RHA not only holds General Assemblies but also plans fun and engaging programs in the halls. For example, on the first day of classes this fall, RHA held an ice cream social. Even though many people were tired after a long day of classes, the Rauenhorst-Morrison Seminar Room was nearly full to bursting. The chatter and laughter of students filled the room as everyone gathered to share a cold treat on a warm day. Residents made new acquaintances and connections.

“I think that RHA is capable of being a source of that ‘home’ feeling-community, friendship, and being active in your residence hall,” says Seeger.

Grocery Bingo is an event in which student can win great prizes and have fun with fellow residents

RHA’s events include Grocery Bingo which occurred in the Rauenhorst Ballroom on Friday, November 17th. General Assemblies will be held on Wednesday, November 15 and 29 at 5:00 in the Rauenhorst-Morrison Seminar Room. If you have any questions or concerns about the residence halls, feel free to stop by our office is in the lobby of St. Mary’s Hall or send us an email at rha@stkate.edu. RHA hopes to make St. Kate’s feel like your “Home Away from Home.” We hope to see you at an upcoming event.