On top of my many commitments to student media, I also serve as the president of the Residence Hall Association. Our organization is dedicated to advocating and promoting community amongst the seven residence halls that make up campus. Most universities across the country have a variation of RHA, and every year these organizations gather for several conferences.
The Central-Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls gathered at the University of Cincinnati this year. The conference was composed of schools from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania
, and West Virginia.
Our delegation was composed of six student delegates including myself, and two advisors. We left at 7 a.m. on Nov. 10 and the next 48 hours would be a truly chaotic, but entertaining experience.
Due to our sizable delegation we had to drive to Cincinnati, and for reference, that’s a seven hour drive including traffic and rest stops. Thankfully, this was a rare instance of me being able to sleep through most of that extended commute.
The chaos really began upon our arrival to The Graduate hotel. For starters, I’ve never seen a smaller roundabout for check-ins. 20 vans at a time, all trying to park and unload in a turn no rounder than the Old Main fountain. While waiting in the Red Raider van, our delegation watched with labored breath as each van drove just inches from grazing us. After 20-minutes of panicked waiting we were finally able to check into our rooms.
In regard to the room situation, Avery Rumberger and myself were told we would have a room to ourselves. However, as soon as we walked into the room, we found a stranger’s belongings. We would soon learn that it wasn’t just one random delegate from another school, but two. And one of them made a great introduction by stinking up the bathroom and leaving the door wide open for the rest of us to deal with.
I also want to quickly note how bizarre the layout of this hotel was. The furniture was clashing at every turn with triangular lamps, flannel carpets and wood paneling on some floors and not on others. It felt as if we had checked into the Overlook Hotel, because if we had stayed there long enough, I, too, would have lost my mind.
Saturday brought about a day of business. As the president, I was required to sit in boardrooms to vote on matters such as which schools had the best programs and events. These boardrooms always leave me feeling weird. I like to see what other schools do in terms of events, but the boardrooms usually fall apart in mere minutes. There’s a lack of clear direction and many of my fellow presidents were just as confused as I was.
Lack of direction seemed to be the name of the game for most of the weekend. I understand the stress and effort that goes into coordinating a conference as big as ours, and I thank the University of Cincinnati delegation for hosting us. However, the biggest mistake was planning the weekend down to the hour, which never works and more often than
note not the locked-in schedule was a detriment to those in attendance rather than a benefit.
The conference ultimately concluded with a banquet ceremony, and like the National Conference in May, it was madness. Many schools were late because there was only one bus running the whole weekend.
The food was provided by campus dining, and the conference staff forgot to specify which meal was set aside for dietary restrictions. Halfway through dinner the event coordinator had to take the microphone and tell everyone to stop eating the vegetarian option (which I was currently eating because there was no indication that it was only for a select group).
Also, a random moment came from the University of Cincinnati's mascot, The Bearcat. They came up from behind me and petted my mustache. I was not a fan.
Despite everything that went wrong, I always have so much fun during these conference weekends. There’s a certain charm to the hectic nature of it all. I love the delegation we had on board this time around and they kept me sane throughout the stress of our long days and even longer drives. For the last conference I’ll ever get to attend with RHA, I wouldn’t change it for the world.