RHA makes plans for extra social fee funds

The organization will have about $8,000 extra in their budget next year to spend on services and activities.

In December, the Residence Halls Association voted on changes to the current distribution of the Residential Life $15 per-semester social fee to make better use of the money.

Previously, there was an issue involving lack of spending and significant rollover at the floor government level. The representatives voted to reallocate a larger portion of the social fee to the hall governments and RHA.

The new distribution, effective fall 2012, will give approximately $8,000 more per semester to the RHA budget, for a total of $35,000.

With these new funds, the organization hopes to provide more services and activities to students in the residence halls, RHA President Chris Rucker said.

“We want to give the money back to the students in the form of services and bigger events, with more co-sponsoring and more events comparable to the ones hosted by DSA,” Rucker said.

RHA does not plan to keep all the extra money to itself. Another goal of RHA is to expand the funding request pool. Any floor or hall government can submit a funding request to RHA for activities or a project the students would like to complete.

“This semester we have $2,500 (in the funding request pool),” RHA Speaker of Congress Kathy Rudd said. “We go through that money really quickly. I would like to double the amount of money in the pool.”

Rucker said halls like Johnston, which uses almost every dollar of their budget, will be able to fund more things that they want to do.

When revising the social fee distribution, many RHA representatives said they would like to see the money reinvested in the halls.

“Our intentions aren’t to decide (how to spend the money) for the residents,” said Kasey Devine, Rollins Group Council residential living representative. “We just want to cut down rollover so that the money actually gets used that year.”

One possible use of the extra money would be adding a Netflix-like movie-streaming service to MUTV.

“We are contacting other schools who use the program to see how they use it,” Rucker said.

The University of Memphis and University of Texas both use the service and place advertisements for school organizations before the movies in order to make it self-sustaining. Rucker said he would like to do something similar to that to keep costs down.

Another service RHA is looking into is an equipment rental system. A project of Rucker’s, the idea is for RHA to purchase machinery such as a popcorn and snow cone maker, a bingo set and DJ equipment. It would be rented out to residents who are hosting events in their halls. The rental service would be free of charge unless the equipment was returned damaged.

Devine said he hopes services such as these will lessen resident apathy.

“A lot of the rollover came from community governments, but residents are rather apathetic about it,” he said. “We have almost $700 to spend this semester, but nothing gets done with it. It’s frustrating.”

In order to avoid extreme amounts of rollover in the future, Rucker said that RHA will offer more assistance with hall and floor government money management.

“We want to run the organization as efficiently as possible and make the most of what we have,” Rucker said.

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