RHA making Residence Halls more inclusive

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) is an on campus organization that is responsible for helping students who live in the dorms voice their concerns about what changes they want to see in the residence halls. 

RHA is split into two groups, east and west campus, as a way for students on both sides of campus to talk about what they want to see more of when it comes to dorm life.

Nicole Poggendorf, the advisor for east campus RHA, said the organization is one of the oldest running student groups.


“It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 years. Many residence hall associations were created on campuses in the early 20th century,” Poggendorf said.  “It is the largest student ran organization of its kind.” 

Poggendorf said RHA has done a lot of work to make the dorms better for students.

“RHA has been instrumental in all phases of the residence halls such as green laundry …  to make laundry free, the renovations to the dining halls, and all-you-care-to-eat concepts, dropping cable TV in lieu of better internet,” Poggendorf said.

Luis Damien, the advisor for west campus RHA said the purpose of RHA is to make campus life more welcoming to the students.

Damien said to make the campus more inclusive, RHA will host different events as a way for residents to get out of their rooms and hang out with other residents.

According to Damien, RHA‘s main goal is to make campus more welcoming for all students who live in the dorms and get them accustomed to life here at Southern Illinois University.

Damien said, so far this semester, west RHA has had some fun events for residents to  enjoy.


“They had a fall-themed event. We had outside games where we served pumpkin spice lattes. There was bingo, and we had video games in one room and board games,” Damien said. “We had roughly close to 70 students attend throughout the program.” 

These events are a great way to get residents out of their dorms, and involved in campus life, Damien said.

Although RHA is split up between east and west, both RHA’s are working to make dorm life more inclusive for students.

David Nelson, the secretary and treasurer of east campus RHA, said RHA is working on making the dorm community more welcoming to residents.

“Our ultimate goal is to try to make campus very welcoming and trying to make it feel a little bit more like home and give a sense of community to all members on campus,” Nelson said. 

RHA is here so that students have a safe place to go so they can air their concerns, Nelson said, and work to make the dorms more comfortable.

Nelson said east RHA has an exciting thing for residents to help them de-stress for finals week.

“We’re gonna aim to do some type of goodie bag giveaway, which isn’t finalized just quite yet,” Nelson said.

K’lynn Washington, the president of west campus RHA, said the group  hosted a “West Fest” at Thompson Point as a way to get residents out of their dorms.

“We do have a lot of students that don’t really interact, and some do, but I definitely can say that the event was overall good,” Washington said.  “We definitely had Starbucks drinks, so that kind of drew in a little bit of a crowd.” 

Washington said she would like to see east and west RHA work together more when it comes to planning events.

“I feel like we both have the same concerns. Maybe it’ll be easier for us to work together to solve the problems. A bigger group is always better if you ask me,” Washington said.

Washington said, by having the different RHA’s working together, more change can happen throughout the residence halls.

“RHA is a space for everyone, and you need to get involved,” Poggendorf said. “It’s a great way to meet people, and be involved in making positive changes in your community on campus.” 

Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram at @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.