Residence Hall Association continues programming, reallocates funds in wake of COVID-19 disruptions
The Residence Hall Association (RHA) is working remotely to provide residents with entertaining and remote events while also working with other campus organizations to provide students with support and resources.
RHA’s General Assembly meets weekly to brainstorm and plan events, along with other ways to support students. At these meetings, Executive Director Aidan Lawrence-Devine (‘22) reported that they assign meeting themes, like asking assembly members to come to the meeting with their best Zoom backgrounds or stuffed animals, to create a more lighthearted and fun atmosphere.
There are multiple upcoming events already planned, including a self care event on April 30 and a Jackbox game night on May 6, both from 7-8 p.m. PST. Lawrence-Devine encourages students to follow the organization’s Instagram page, @Willamette_RHA, to stay updated with future events and to access the Zoom links that are placed in its bio the day of each event.
“RHA’s programming is intended primarily for residents, but we never have any restrictions in place on that. We want to be as open and flexible to Willamette students as possible,” explained Lawrence-Devine.
The General Assembly also voted to give financial support to the Bearcat Pantry and Emergency Fund.
“We recently coordinated with the SOAR Center and Bearcat Pantry to get a bunch of shelf stable food for residents on campus and people in the community,” said Lawrence-Devine.
After being informed that the Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability (CAFES) was allocating funds to the Emergency Fund, RHA was inspired to do the same. They ended up reallocating “a large portion of our remaining semester budget to the Emergency Fund,” said Lawrence-Devine. “A portion of that money was marked specifically for residents who are seeking the Emergency Fund, just because that is sort of our function as the Residence Hall Association, the majority of it is available for any Willamette student.”
Lawrence-Devine feels confident that RHA is in a good position to start next semester out strong, even with the uncertainty of what Willamette University will look like at that time. He said RHA is already working on programming for next semester by collaborating with Mental Health Advocacy student leaders to facilitate mental health events for first-year students.
“RHA is committed to supporting our residents through the end of the year in whatever capacity we can. We also want to make sure that RHA is well-prepared to meet whatever challenges the next academic year will throw at us,” said Lawrence-Devine.