March 28, 2011
11-69

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

Residence Hall Association to Host 2012 Conference

VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta State University Residence Hall Association won a bid to host a 2012 conference for more than 200 students from the nine states that comprise the Southeast Atlantic Association of College and University Residence Halls (SAACURH).

Before hundreds of students at this year’s conference, VSU Bid Team Chair Sophomore Jacob Jones presented “Twitter” as the theme to be considered for the SAACURH No Frills Regional Conference, which will be held on March 15-18, 2012. Assistant Director of Residential Education Sarah VanKuiken said Valdosta State beat out the University of West Georgia to host the event dedicated to student leadership and engagement.

“Hosting No Frills 2012 is a huge honor, especially when you consider that the Residence Hall Association (RHA) at VSU has not been around for that long. We have grown from a small campus organization to one that is active within the state and Southeast region,” said VanKuiken, who works with VSU’s Living and Learning Communities and RHA. “Hosting a conference gives students an opportunity to learn in a very tangible and meaningful way, and to feel a sense of accomplishment.”

RHA and SAACURH are affiliated with the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, which is the largest student-run organization in the world. The SAACURH No Frills Conference is one of two annual regional conferences that are run by and for students who participate in RHA. A team of seven committee chairs, all of whom are VSU undergraduate students, will manage the pre-planning and registration aspects of the conference. Student volunteers and professional advisors will provide assistance during the conference. The regional board of directors arranges the schedule and content of the meeting.

“This particular conference is called a ‘No Frills’ because the central focus of the meeting is to go over business, legislation and award nominations for the region,” VanKuiken said. “Essentially, students attend a two-day business meeting. The VSU bid team chose the theme ‘Twitter’ because of its cultural relevancy and efficient, down-to-business style of communication.”

VanKuiken said winning the bid is further evidence that VSU is a positive place that the region has heard about and wants to be a part of. Hosting the conference, she said is another way to share the VSU community and its “fantastic student leadership.”

“Student development theorist Alexander Astin posited that the capacity of an institution to educate students is proportional to its ability to engage students and involve them in the learning process. Hosting a conference highlights the opportunities students have to participate in meaningful leadership experiences and gain valuable skill sets for future careers.”