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RHA banquet recognizes residence halls, students

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Kaibab-Huachuca Hall Council members display their 2011-2012 RHA Hall of the Year award. The Residence Hall Association is hosting their End of the Year Banquet on Sunday.

The UA’s residence halls will be recognized for their accomplishments at an awards banquet Sunday night.

At the Residence Hall Association’s End of the Year Banquet, residence halls will be up for nine major awards for the work they’ve accomplished during the year, including student of the year and residence hall of the year.

Hall councils submit applications for the awards. The RHA executive board then reviews these bids and decides the winner.

Anthony Salas, RHA vice president of public relations and a political science sophomore, said that even though not every hall wins an award, RHA still tries to recognize each hall throughout the evening.

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One way RHA tries to keep everyone engaged is through the hall buddy system. RHA executive board members were each assigned certain halls to keep in close contact with throughout the year. E-board members were expected to attend events at their halls and build relationships in the community.

E-board members will award their respective halls with an end-of-the-year pin and will speak about the halls’ accomplishments.

Last year, Salas attended the banquet as part of the Arbol de la Vida Residence Hall council and as a nominee for student of the year. Though the atmosphere is celebratory, he said, the awards can cause some disappointment.

Arbol de la Vida, one of the UA’s newest residence halls, put a bid down for almost every award, only to come away empty-handed. Despite the letdown, Salas said the event was still a meaningful celebration of the community’s work.

“At the end of the day, it’s a really nice event to bring the halls together so they can recognize the talent and the work that they did throughout the year,” Salas said.

RHA has somewhat changed the event’s structure in order to make the night feel more like a celebration for everyone, according to Salas.

“One of the big criticisms last year was that people who won really felt like winners and the people who lost really felt like losers,” Salas said.

This year RHA is changing the event’s focus to make sure everyone is recognized in some way.

“We want everyone to feel like their work was valued,” Salas said.

Shelby Deemer, RHA president and a business management junior, said the plaques individuals get to take home with them serve as a reminder of their success.

“You can prove to yourself over and over again when you see that memento that you did a really great job this year,” Deemer said.

Although many people don’t do hall council for more than a year, recognizing their efforts can act as a confirmation of their work and push them to go on to be RAs or to work with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, according to Salas.

“They end up taking those leadership skills they’ve learned further,” Salas said.

Jenn Gray, RHA vice president of programming and a geography sophomore, said RHA hopes to encourage people to continue being involved, even if it’s outside of the organization.

“We want to encourage more involvement and future involvement so that they continue in any leadership role,” Gray said.

Gray said the awards serve as an incentive for students to work harder every year.

“I think the awards give the students, the advisers and everyone that’s involved in RHA more incentives to work harder and really get the full experience of being involved in RHA,” Gray said.

Salas said hall awards instill a sense of civic pride among residents, as they become a part of the hall’s history.

Halls display their awards in trophy cases, Deemer said.

“It gives hall councils a sense of pride in their hall to see their accomplishments,” Deemer said.


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