On Friday, Oct. 26, The Residence Hall Association (RHA) hosted an on-campus carnival called the Great Pumpkin Fest! The event took place in the center of campus, on the chapel field. The carnival included many activity stations and the RHA included many different clubs on campus in the event. There was a performance by Trybe, which added an exciting beat to the festivities. This activity was a collaboration with the Education club, Active Minds, Provost’s Advisory Committee(PAC), The Student Org of Hispanics and Latinos(SOLE), Cheerleading, and many more.
The Essential oils table was run by Active Minds. PAC hosted an activity to challenge students to guess the number of candy corns in jars that they displayed on the table. A bake sale, including apple cider and donuts, was led by SOHL and a few other groups. The Cheerleading club offered hair bows that students had the chance to decorate. Outdoors House also provided a slackline, tent, and their own merchandise! The SEA also included a wheelchair-accessible table down on the concrete walkway in front of the field to make sure that every student would be able to attend the event.
The RHA is a new club, as of this year, and has many plans for the future. The club plans to continue doing collaborations with other groups on Wheaton’s campus to stand as an ongoing tool for clubs to connect with one another. Sarah Malin, the president of the RHA, said that the club “Promotes inclusion and diversity on campus.” RHA is focusing on improving the campus by accommodating to the needs of Wheaton students. These may lead to include improvements to dorm life. Each kitchen would be given a set of pots, pans and other culinary tools. This way each student doesn’t feel the need to buy their own cooking supplies. The replacement of shower heads in dorm bathrooms and the addition of faucet filters in theme houses could be a step in the direction of RHAs mission to beautify the campus.
These improvements to the campus also include creating a more outward expression of the students’ appreciation for the residence hall and dining hall staff. This could be done by hosting gatherings focusing on the staff and providing awareness of their value. A similar relationship can be built between the Resident Advisors(RA) and students living in residential halls. RHA sees the importance of creating a welcoming environment for students to feel comfortable sharing concerns and ideas of improvements that can be done of residential life to their RAs. This can build more of a bridge between the staff, RAs and the students on Wheaton’s campus. “We symbolize the connection between students no matter what class year you are a part of.” Carol Teran, vice president of RHA.
To continue to promote the freedom of students to share their ideas to the rest of the campus, RHA is planning to implement a Town Hall meeting that will collaborate with the Student Government Association(SGA) and the staff of the office of Student Activities, Leadership and Involvement(SAIL). In this way, each student will be able to express their own issues and hopes for improvement. Malin describes it as, “A place where everybody has a voice and is to make sure all individual needs are addressed.”
The RHA is the biggest organization of its kind. This past weekend of Nov. 2, the leaders of the RHA attended the national conference set to bring all RHA clubs together to collaborate ideas on how to improve their presence on each club’s relative college campus. Though the club has learned a lot from this conference, it is still open to more ideas and recommendations of improvement from Wheaton students. This is what makes club meetings so important and valuable.
“Everyone is welcome to attend!” Malin said. The club meets every Wednesday at 4:30pm, in Knapton, room 116. These are drop-in meetings, which mean that even if you have not attended the meetings in the past, you can still participate and contribute to the conversation. The meetings give members a chance to share what other clubs, that they represent, are doing on campus and aid the the other RHA members in learning more about those clubs. An exciting upcoming event, which is collaborated with PAC, is one that will promote de-stressing activities during finals week. Keep your eyes open for more information about this event in the future!