Hall President Council updates Rocknes, evaluates Hall of the Year selection process
Alexandra Muck | Thursday, December 7, 2017
As Hall President Council (HPC) co-chairs, seniors Alyssa Lyon and Brandon Ryan have brought changes to HPC focused on efficiency and collaboration.
“We wanted to create an environment that was a lot more collaborative as opposed to competitive,” Lyon said. “We felt that presidents didn’t want to share what was going on in their dorm so that one could get a leg up, be a better hall, get hall of the year, whatnot. We did a couple changes this year so people are encouraged to share and tell what’s great about your dorm.”
As part of the weekly HPC meetings, Lyon and Ryan said they have shortened the time focused on administrative tasks and instead used more time to focus on hall signature events and troubleshooting problems in the dorms.
“If you compared a 45-minute [meeting] last year and a 45-minute meeting this year, the ones this year feel so much more productive because what we’ve tried to do is cut out or make really efficient all the administrative and formality stuff,” Ryan said.
This year, HPC uses HPChats as a way to get feedback on problems hall presidents are facing. Lyon and Ryan also have started Standouts in the meetings in place of Hey Halls, which allow dorm leadership to present on what’s unique about their dorm instead of giving a dorm history.
“It’s shifted from information for information’s sake and no one really caring to actually having a productive source for people to hear new ideas that other dorms are doing,” Ryan said.
Lyon and Ryan have also been focusing on aspects of dorm life such as the dorm relationship with the rector, Ryan said.
“Some rectors seem to be the heart and soul of the dorm and others seem to be ‘us-against-them,’” he said. “One thing we’ve really been trying to do is see how we can bridge that gap and see how each dorm has an opportunity to make dorm culture better.”
The HPC co-chairs have also given their input to a committee working to standardize certain elements of the residential experience, such as dances.
“You might go to one dorm and the dance rules are very relaxed, and you might go to another one and the list of rules is two pages long,” Lyon said. “Residents are having a discrepancy of experiences with something that should be pretty standard in the way that they’re run.”
An important aspect of the HPC co-chairs’ job is their role in determining Hall of the Year. Lyon and Ryan made changes to the formats of Rocknes at the start of this year. Lyon said the reflections are more concise and hall presidents must list three items that could be improved.
They made these changes, Ryan said, to focus less on the presentation and more on the content of the Rocknes.
“The thing my rector would say last year is any time you would spend filling out a Rockne, spend that time actually on the dorm — and that’s so true,” he said. “We shouldn’t be awarding people who are basically putting the best ornaments on their Rocknes, it should be about the content.”
Lyon said the HPC co-chairs both recognize the problems that exist with the Hall of the Year process and they are working now to make changes that will be implemented for the 2018-2019 school year. They want the process to be more about recognition and less about a competition.
“We feel that it should really be more of an afterthought in that at the end of the year whoever really stood out as building a really strong community or transitioning their dorm,” Lyon said. “ … It should be an honor that they receive as opposed to something they’re competing for all year long.”
Lyon said she and Ryan will be presenting their recommended changes to student senate by the end of their term.
HPC is working to create a more supportive atmosphere among dorms, standardize policies from dorm to dorm and improve the Hall of the Year process, but the changes to the Rocknes appear to be its only concrete solution thus far. Still, each of these goals are promising, and it remains to be seen if HPC’s presentation to senate will make an impact.