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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Slates focusing on sustainability, marketing in RHA presidential campaigns

With the RHA election less than 10 days away, here's a look at the slates and their platforms.

The Residence Halls Association finalized the three slates that declared candidacies for the presidential election Thursday.

The slates — Anurag Chandran and Brooke Burge, James Jordan and Tom Bourneuf, and Jackson Farley and Shannon Dawson — have now begun their campaigns.

Anurag Chandran and Brooke Burge

Chandran and Burge decided to run after Chandran participated in the RHA Operations Committee. He said he realized much of the funding the organization made available to students in the residence halls for planning events and activities was going unused.

“There is an insane amount of funding available — more than $6,000 — that is hardly being used at all,” Chandran said. “That money is for the students and I want to make sure that they know it is available and are using it to make their lives better.”

Other goals for the campaign include making Netflix available in the residence halls, improving the dining hall experience by creating a late night food service at the Pavilion at Dobbs similar to Rollins Late Night, furthering RHA’s focus on sustainability and working with the Bike Share program to provide each residence hall with bikes for resident usage.

Both Chandran and Burge said they bring extensive leadership to their campaign: Chandran is the current vice president of the RHA Operations Committee, the multimedia chairman of the Mizzou Dance Marathon Steering Committee and a member of the Missouri Students Association's Department of Student Services.

Burge is currently president of Hatch Hall, is a member of Sigma Phi Lambda and participates in Tigers LEAD. She said Chandran’s involvement in RHA and her involvement outside RHA make their campaign strong.

James Jordan and Tom Bourneuf

Jordan said he became interested in running for RHA president after realizing his experience with the organization could prove to be a viable asset after much of its executive leadership leaves next year.

“I looked around and saw that an organization that I have put over two years of work into would have very little returning leadership,” Jordan said. “If I become president, I will be able to serve as an institutional memory for what did and did not work in the past. Having me as president would allow RHA to skip a learning curve and go straight into doing meaningful and effective work.”

If elected, Jordan and Bourneuf said they plan to focus on promoting RHA and increasing student involvement and engagement with it. Jordan said he wants to increase programming and a stronger community.

Bourneuf said the campaign’s theme is “Continue Forward.”

“We feel that the current president and vice president have done an excellent job building RHA past where it was when they began,” Bourneuf said. “The areas we are focusing on hope to further what they have accomplished this year.”

Jordan and Bourneuf said they bring RHA and outside leadership experience to their campaign. Jordan, the current RHA sustainability coordinator, has been in RHA for three years, has worked as a peer adviser and has served on the Student Fee Review Committee. Bourneuf is the current chief justice of RHA and was the MSA Board of Elections Commissioners chairman two years ago.

Jackson Farley and Shannon Dawson

Farley and Dawson were both RHA committee chairs this year, and it is this experience that inspired them to declare their candidacy, Farley said.

“As a residence hall representative, it’s amazing to see hard work pay off and changes actually made, directly improving the lives of those students who live on campus,” Farley said. “I see a lot of positive things RHA is doing and I also see a lot of things that RHA could be doing that I would love to start up, and so for those reasons, I have decided to run for RHA president.”

If elected, Farley and Dawson said they plan to focus on expanding RHA’s sustainability efforts and expanding the marketing and promotion of RHA and its programming.

“Whether it be promoting and strengthening the Dashboard program to reach more residents, or creating a ‘green guide’ for students to teach them how to be more environmentally friendly in their own rooms, our platform rests steadily on the goal of improved sustainability,” Farley said.

Farley and Dawson cite their high level of current involvement in the organization and passion for the work of RHA as qualifications for the presidential position. Farley is the Residential Living chair. Dawson was the Advocacy Committee chair and is now on the Programming Board.

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