What Goes into an RHA Event?


Poster for RHA event, “Sushi and Karaoke.” (Photo by Natalie Colby | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Natalie Colby, Editor-in-Chief


On every on-campus student’s tuition bill there is a $30 fee. That fee goes to fund the Residence Hall Association and the several events they host every semester.

RHA is responsible for hosting large events at the start of the year, such as a movie night on the field of Rice-Eccles Stadium or a Neighborhood Night, and an end-off-year bash. They also host smaller, more intimate events throughout the year. This year, these included a wellness night, a screening of “Frozen 2” and a sushi and karaoke event.

These events are planned by the five different RHA boards — Marketing and Outreach, Resident Relations, Salt Lake Events Board, Campus Events and Advocacy. Residents are also invited to attend these events —  times listed on their website — to give input on what they host. 

Each board, excluding the resident relations board, is tasked with creating an event a month, and as a whole, there are a little over 12 events a semester for students. 

Alexis Koopman, RHA president, said there is a variety of factors that go into planning these events, like coordinating with vendors, getting student feedback and trying to make them engaging for residents. 

“We use that fee to give back to the residence in a greater capacity than that fee would work by itself,” she said. “We like to be really conscious stewards of that fee, so we don’t purchase anything we don’t think is going to benefit residents.”

Residents are not limited in how many events they can attend. Attendance for events vary on the purpose, Koopman said.

For their Welcome Week events, they interact with thousands of students. Additionally, events such as Casino Royale — a casino-themed night at the Peterson Heritage Center — and Welcome Back Waffles — at the beginning of the spring semester — draw around 500 students.

But they also have events throughout the semester that only reach 20-30 students. These events, such as writing cards for veterans or having a conversation on wellness. are very low budget, costing around $100. Koopman said this is intentional. “We like to focus on intimate event settings as well because a lot of residents in those big crowded events can be left out,” she said. 

Koopman said they are also intentionally flexible and don’t put too much emphasis on repeating events throughout the years. They let the boards decide what they think is relevant and needed each semester. 

Summer Furrer, a freshman studying biology who lives in the Marriot Honors Community, has attended several RHA-hosted events this year, including Neighborhood Night and Ice Skating Night. 

“I chose to go because its an easy way to get to know people and be social as a first-year,” she said. 

Furrer said that at some events, it seemed like student leaders were only hosting because someone told them to. At other events, however, Furrer says the student leaders seemed more invested in hosting.

“Overall, they all are trying to help students find a place in our big school, so they’re doing alright,” she said.

Additionally, she said she thinks they do a good job putting on the events, but some of the smaller ones occur during times that are inconvenient for students to attend. 

RHA is also partnering with the Union Programing Council to put on a new series of late-night events called U Nights, which will be held at the Eccles Student Life Center from Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. to Feb. 21 at 1 a.m.


[email protected]