Let the battle begin!
This battle is really a friendly competition between residents all across campus known as Battle of the Halls. Students from the Sheraton, Brandt, the Oaks and Stu-Han dorms will battle all year for the most points to win a dinner from the housing office.
While the Battle of the Halls is a competition, it was actually put in place by Eugene Shang, associate director of student housing and residential education, to build bonds between the residents.
“It’s about increasing participation and involvement on campus,” Shang said.
Residents can earn points for their halls by attending Residence Hall Association committee meetings, Residence Assistant programs, English as a Second Language programs and helping plan resident hall programs.
“Something this year is making people more excited about coming to events and participating,” Jennifer Juhasz, RHA president, said.
At the second RHA committee meeting of the year, a delegate from nearly every hall was present.
While the delegates earn points for their halls by attending such events, they also build connections with fellow residents and have an opportunity to discuss important dorm issues, like maintenance issues and upcoming events.
“We had such an increase in students who live in the residence halls that this year we thought would be the best time [for the program],” Juhasz said.
Planning for these events can be fun; at the second meeting residents planned a Casino night and a theme for the upcoming dance.
And, when the students are directly involved in planning events for their halls and bringing up issues, they can actively work to make dorm life better.
“It’s like the community is solving and addressing its issues,” Shang said. “A lot of it is having them create the community here on campus.”
The student response to the competition has been positive.
“I think it’s a great way to get students involved on campus,” Brooke Fyfe, junior psychology major said. “On my floor people are really spirited and they really want to win Battle of the Halls.”
The RHA’s philosophy is to be involved and invest in the community and it seems this program is encouraging students to do just that.
“I also think it’s a good way for freshmen to meet people,” freshman Alma Sanchez said.
The residence halls have a long history of encouraging spirit. The university’s residence halls are part of the Pacific Affiliation of College and University Residence Halls, which represents residence halls all across the nation; the university has won the Spirit Award for the last four years at the regional conference.
“The La Verne students who have been involved with this have made a name for themselves,” Shang said.
Being part of the residence hall program goes beyond just the time spent on campus improving dorm life.
“There are lots of leadership opportunities,” Shang said.
Putting the fun of the competition aside, Shang said that the experiences as part of the residence halls programs follow students off campus too.
“What you learn here you take with you,” Shang said.
Megan Sebestyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.