Bill proposing instatement of new position within RHA passes unanimously

The bill, which was rejected April 22, passed unanimously April 29 after undergoing revision

MU junior Alexia Donovan and MU freshman Cory Johnson were sworn in as president and vice president of the Residence Halls Association on April 29 and went straight to work. Donovan and Johnson proposed three bills to congress Monday night, one of which was previously rejected by congress on April 22.

The previously rejected bill proposed the instatement of a new position within RHA aimed at addressing retention issues within the organization. After the bill was rejected, Donovan and Johnson decided to touch base with members of their executive board for input on how to revise the bill before moving forward.

After spending the week conducting interviews for their executive board, Donovan and Johnson took the time to offer clarification by having RHA representative MU sophomore David Garcia, who helped author and sponsor the bill, explain his thought process behind the bill to other members.

After revision, the bill passed unanimously on Monday night. Donovan said the bill passing was a “breath of relief.”

“One of the biggest changes we came to an agreement on was putting a clause in the bill that basically says, ‘this is a trial year’ to see how well this position works out,” Donovan said. “If it does work, we’ll come back in a year and look at the position and basically evaluate it.”

Donovan said she is confident about the new position.

“I think that this is actually something that’s going to work really well for RHA, considering that there are other RHA’s across the Midwest who use a similar process,” Donovan said.

The position, now called Director of Resident Engagement, will be assumed by MU sophomore Mary Costantinou. Johnson said Costantinou’s “strengths really fit the position.”

“[Costantinou is] organized, communicates well and replies to online emails quickly,” Johnson said.

Donovan and Johnson were on the fence about whether they wanted the position to require previous RHA experience. Johnson said Costantinou’s qualifications solidified the decision for them.

“We saw everything about her and decided we were good without RHA experience,” Johnson said. “[Costantinou] can see [things] from an outsider's perspective and bring knowledge of what she knows about RHA from not being in it, and use that to help with what works, what the general population wants, and what we need to improve on.”

The new executive board is comprised of previous members and new members involved in organizations across MU such as Fraternity and Sorority Life, Summer Welcome, RAs, and the Honors College. Recruiting new RHA representatives will take place during Welcome Week in August.

“I definitely think that next year, RHA is going to have a new movement coming in and things are changing, but for the better,” Donovan said.

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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