To give residential students a better venue to voice their concerns about life on campus, the Office of Residential Life has consolidated individual hall councils into a single governing body.
In past years, all the dorms had their own hall councils, which included such traditional leadership positions as president, vice president, and treasurer. In the last two years, members of all the hall councils were frustrated because not enough people would participate in dorm elections in order to fill all the leadership positions. Thus, the Residential Community Organization (RCO) was born
According to Senior Rae Tabbert, a former Residential Assistant, in past years, when each hall had its own hall council, all the halls were basically doing the same things in terms of keeping a budget and planning dorm activities but there was never any communication or collaboration between any of the halls. As a result of these frustrations, the Office of Residential Life decided to rework hall council so that it would be one governing body with representatives from each dorm, said Lael Sigal, residence director.
“RCO will help make hall council more effective,” said Sigal. “It will work well for the Mills community and it will help residential students voice their concerns more effectively.”
“We can really get more accomplished with everyone in one organization working towards one goal as opposed to having four hall councils,” said Tabbert.
According to a pamphlet created by the Office of Residential Life, the Residential Community Organization will consist of one executive board with a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, programming chair, diversity chair and traditions chair. In addition, each hall will have the opportunity to send three representatives to the executive board in order to communicate the ideas, comments and concerns of residents.
Unlike the dorms, Larsen House, Ross House, Prospect Hill and Underwood Apartments will not send representatives to the executive board but they are considered a part of the Residential Community Organization. The commuting lounges (Mary Atkins and Persis Coleman) will not be included in the Residential Community Organization because they already have their own governing boards, said Sigal
Other functions of the Residential Community Organization will be to serve as a point of information between the community and the administration, make decisions for purchasing equipment for the residence halls, provide input for building improvements and quiet hours and work with Housing Management and Dining Services on community improvements.
One complaint that a lot students have had about the change from separate hall councils to one big community organization is that information about the change was not advertised very well, said Junior Hailey Phelan.
“When I decided to run for a position on RCO, I thought RCO was hall council,” said Phelan.
According to Phelan, at first, she didn’t know anything about the Residential Community Organization until she read the campaign application that she obtained from the Office of Student Life.
Elections for positions on the executive board were held this week. The Executive Board of the Residential Community Organization will hold meetings every Wednesday from 4- 6 p.m. in the Cowell Conference Room, said Tabbert.
“I hope people attend meetings whether they’re representatives or not,” said Sigal. “This is truly a place where students can have a voice.”
“I hope RCO is effective,” said Junior Akiima Towe. ” If it’s one big organization then people will take their jobs more seriously since there is a bigger task at hand.”