Residence Halls are a prominent staple in every student’s college experience. These are the buildings that we call home each year and where our lifelong friendships are fostered. From study groups in the lounges to hanging out in friends’ rooms, every college student is bound to have a number of entertaining stories resulting from their res hall. At Fairfield University, the numerous sponsored events and community feeling of the Quad make our residence halls prime environments for memories to be made.
During my first year, I lived in Gonzaga Hall, a building that grew to mean much more to me than I ever anticipated. As an eager, wide-eyed freshman walking around the annual activities fair, a poster with four big letters caught my attention.
“What’s IRHA?” I had asked the member at the booth. They went on to describe how the Inter-Residential Housing Association is a club on campus that programs and advocates for each residence hall, as well as the overall campus community.
While IRHA oversees the greater campus, the Residence Hall Association (better known as RHA) is a subdivision of IRHA specific to each residence hall. These are committees within every hall that plan events and advocate for their residents and building. Once I was informed of this I instantly knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. To me, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to gain leadership experience and meet new people while also becoming immersed in the Fairfield community. As a first-year, I couldn’t have imagined anything more ideal.
Being involved in RHA as the President of Gonzaga was easily one of my favorite things that I did during my freshman year. The ability to connect with fellow residents and work with the building’s faculty gave me a sense of community within my Res Hall, and Gonzaga quickly became my home.
IRHA hosts many exceptional events throughout the year, the most notable being New England Day, Lighting of the Lounges and SpringFest. The members of IRHA meet weekly throughout the year in order to plan and promote these events. Their commitment to creating fun opportunities that bring the Fairfield student body together definitely shines through in the success of their programs year after year.
After running Gonzaga’s New England Day booth in October, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I felt so lucky to be a part of a club that worked so hard year-round to bring joy and happiness to the lives of the Fairfield residents. I truly felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself.
Currently writing this article a full year after my first New England Day, I can confidently say that IRHA has been one of the best experiences of my college career. As a sophomore, I am now a Marketing Specialist on IRHA and the rewarding feelings from being in this club have not gotten old.
Not only does IRHA allow me to make positive changes and create fun experiences for my peers, but I am also growing as a leader and immersing myself in the Fairfield community. If the eager, wide-eyed freshman girl wandering through the activities fair could see how much of an impact joining that one club had on her, I think it’s safe to say that she would be very proud.