I’m writing in response to the article, “RHA accused of abusing funds,” (April 25, p. 1).
As a former Residence Hall Association president, I am appalled at the financial abuse the current executive board has committed in the name of vanity. As an alumna, I’m angry that undergraduate money students like me will be paying off for decades is so thoughtlessly spent.
And as a former national communications coordinator – the liaison for the RHA’s regional and national groups – I am gravely concerned that this mismanagement has led to talk of pulling the chapter’s charter, limiting attendance at national conferences and reapportioning funds from programs like Target Takeover to other groups that have no specific interest in on-campus living.
The RHA is the only group that specifically represents students who live in University housing, which fosters a sense of community that you simply cannot get when living off campus.
The RHA is also the on-campus advocacy organization that you go to when you have concerns about construction noise around the new whatever-GW-is-building-next, or when 20 students in your hall are all complaining about the same pest, electrical or plumbing issue. The organization’s job is to build relationships with University officials and plead students’ cases to the people with the purse strings and the phone extensions. It is an important fixture of student life, and should not be disbanded.
Tim Miller, director of the Center for Student Engagement, is absolutely correct in rejecting the ridiculous calls for the charter pull, and for supporting the RHA’s continued participation in national conferences. To complement that, the RHA needs to look internally and consider more mature leadership, consisting of students who understand that the RHA fund is not a personal bank account and that being president is a full-time job.
I strongly recommend any candidate thinks long and hard about how this position will run his or her life for the next 12 months. The on-campus community certainly deserves someone who appreciates this commitment.
Emily Naden, a 2004 graduate of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, was president of GW RHA from 2002-2003.