RHA chooses five working names for new residence hall

Congress determined their top five hall names to be Gateway, Carver, Caspian, Justice and Sustainability.

Virginia Avenue South Housing is just the temporary name of the new residence hall opening on campus next fall, and it is up to the Residential Halls Association to come up with something a little more creative.

“Whenever we start a project for building a new residence hall, we have to come up with a name of the project,” Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said. “Then we have to eventually come up with a working name. “

The four RHA committees, Advocacy, Operations, Programming and Residential Living, were tasked with coming up with a list of ideas for the working name, RHA speaker of Congress Garrett Wilt said.

There was only one guideline for the committees as they brainstormed.

“They are not allowed to be named after people that are living,” RHA President Steven Chaffin said. “The university likes to leave those people open for potentially donating to the university at some point. It is essentially a temporary name because they like the permanent name to be after someone who has donated.”

Instead, Chaffin said he suggested the committees think of names that would relate to Missouri’s history.

After each committee had voted on their top name choices, those choices and the choices of the RHA executive board were compiled and voted upon in Congress, Wilt said.

Congress determined the top five choices: Gateway, Carver, Caspian, Justice and Sustainability.

The reasoning for the top name, Gateway, comes from Missouri’s history and the goal of the residence hall.

“Missouri is often thought of as the ‘Gateway to the West,’ so you have that historical aspect,” Chaffin said. “Also, with the university being the first established university west of the Mississippi, you have that historical ‘Gateway to the West’ aspect to it. At the same time, this new residence hall will be more sustainable than any that came before it.”

The new residence hall will feature thermal water heating and use construction materials recycled from the old Johnston Hall. It will be the second residence hall to be LEED-certified, Chaffin said.

“This is essentially a gateway to the future of college campuses and how we hope to see residence halls in the future,” Chaffin said.

The list of names was passed in the form of a resolution, and was then taken by Chaffin to Minor.

“From there, he took it to (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) Cathy Scroggs,” Chaffin said. “After they both approved it, I then sent it to Chancellor (R. Bowen) Loftin. We’re still waiting to hear back from him, but should he approve, it will then go to UM System President Tim Wolfe. He will have the final say concerning the name.”

Minor said that if the chancellor endorses the resolution, Wolfe would probably endorse it unless he has a strong objection to it.

This process differs slightly from the process of permanently naming a residence hall, in which the final say would go to the UM System Board of Curators.

“If at some point in the future there is a distinguished alumnus they want to name the hall after, they have the ability to take off this name and do that,” Minor said. “But at least we’ve got a good functional and, I’d say, meaningful name until that point.”

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