A delegation of students representing NIU’s residence halls recently made an impressive mark during a state conference. Members of NIU’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) not only presented the most programs during the conference but also won numerous other awards.
The Illinois RHA 2018 conference took place in February at the University of St. Francis. In addition to being recognized as Most Spirited Delegation, members of the NIU delegation received the following awards at the conference:
- Charles Cherry, Advisor of the Year
- Jordan Arcilla, Student of the Year
- Marianna Carr, First-year Student Experience of the Year
- I Younan An, NRHH Communications Coordinator of the Year
- Maggie Hitchcock, NRHH Member of the Year
Joshua Hutchinson, graduate assistant for Leadership Development, Housing and Residential Services, said conference preparation is taken on by students within the RHA and National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). Students are selected through an application process. Any student living within the residence halls is able to apply and be selected.
For the school spirit aspect of the conference competitions, participating delegations are allowed to create spirit items, and are also awarded points for various forms of participation and engagement. The conference programming is primarily comprised of presentations submitted by students and staff attending, covering topics such as leadership development, team building, diversity, academic support, social events, professional development and more.
Nicole Pacewic was among the NIU delegates in attendance and served as one of the university’s communications coordinators during the conference. She said preparations began two months in advance, and that NIU’s recognitions reflect the dedication, ability and promise of student leaders at the university.
“We have won most spirited delegation now at three conferences in a row, NACURH (National/ International), GLACURH (Regional) and now IRHA (State),” Pacewic said. “Winning at any of these conferences is a huge accomplishment and the fact that we did these three in a row is amazing.”
This year, 10 students represented NIU at the conference, and Hutchinson said the 11 programs they presented made up a majority of the programming sessions available.
“And four of these programs were voted as top 10 programs out of the entire event, which is quite the accomplishment as well,” he noted. “Traditionally, having that many presentations presented by one institution is not common. However, this has been the trend within NIU’s student delegations at our conferences throughout this academic year.”
Hutchinson said the conference serves as an opportunity for student leaders to network and connect with others from across the state.
“Our attendance at this specific IRHA conference has showcased the caliber of student leader that NIU develops within our residential programs,” he said. “It also provides our students the chance to showcase the skills and knowledge that they have by developing other leaders from different institutions, as well as having the valuable experience of receiving development from others.”