Students living in the dorms are concerned that events held by the Residence Hall Association are going unnoticed, not well advertised and, perhaps, not the best way to spend students’ money.
RHA President Mihiri Meepegama said the spring formal costs $1,500, half of the RHA budget, and is funded directly from Youngstown State University housing fees.
The 850 students living on campus contribute as part of their rent, but not every resident attends the events.
“It’s not much,” RHA Vice President Anna Kolar said. “Maybe $5.”
RHA planned on 70 students attending the spring formal last year. Meepegama said about 100 students attended, pricing the event at $15 per student.
Meepegama said the RHA expects another 100 to attend the spring formal this year.
Kilcawley House resident Kara Malberti will not be attending. She doesn’t think that many people will go and that the money could be used on other things.
“Focus more on each house and getting to know people better,” Malberti said.
Kolar said “the programs that we do go well,” but that she would like better communication with students and encourages them to offer suggestions.
Chris Cargill, a senior living in Kilcawley House, said he’s not sure what events he’ll attend, but he will try to go to some.
“I may try to go [to the spring formal]. It should be good for residents to go and have fun,” Cargill said.
RHA officials said marketing and advertising haven’t produced the turnout they’ve hoped for.
“I feel that a lot of the residents either don’t know what’s going on or, even when we go over the top, they just don’t care,” Kolar said.
Freshman Bryan Cataldo said it would be good for RHA to plan more.
“Anything fun, really. The movie night outside of Christman’s was fun. Maybe if they did another one inside,” Cataldo said. The YSU Office of Housing and Residence Life handled the Welcome Week movie night.
Toney Claytor, RHA treasurer, said students often don’t realize who is putting on the event.
“We put up our posters through graphic services, and people just don’t notice that it’s RHA who’s doing it,” Claytor says.
Cataldo was one of those confused students.
He said the only event he knew about was “just the karaoke party,” pointing at a Penguin Productions poster hanging in the Kilcawley House lobby.
Penguin Productions is a group separate from the RHA that also plans on-campus events.
Meepegama said all events have the same amount of advertising. RHA uses fliers, Facebook groups and Twitter. Kolar said the group plans to start advertising for the spring formal this week, and that RHA is open to suggestions.
“We encourage it, and we want people to tell us what they want,” she said.
Effective interaction is another key component of the RHA’s success.
“We need a better form of communication between the student body and RHA,” Kolar said. “Students need to come to RHA and tell us their ideas. We can only spend money the best way that we know how.”
Meepegama said the RHA is planning three events in addition to the spring formal: a “Just Dance” party, a murder mystery and an RHA member auction.