This year, Augustana students have the opportunity to participate in the campus’ new Residence Hall Association (RHA). The main goal of the group will be to create new leadership opportunities for students, according to dean of students Jim Bies.

“It’s really being launched as a leadership development program that is student-housing based,” Bies said. “And it’s really meant to give many opportunities for more student voice in housing-related topics, programs, policies [and] procedures.”

ASA president and vice president Matt Anderson and Krista Youngberg developed the structure and constitution of the group through collaboration with Bies and director of residence life Corey Kopp. The positions outlined in the plan for Augustana’s RHA coincide with the national RHA.

“[RHA] is a very well-established thing at schools across the country,” Anderson said.

Whether the Augustana RHA will join the national organization is still to be determined. The structure of the group has been left intentionally open-ended.

“We want it to become whatever it becomes,” Anderson said. “I don’t know where it’s going to go, and that’s the cool thing about it.”

Each residence hall will have its own RHA, consisting of members that aren’t already involved as peer advisers in the residence halls or as elected officials of the Augustana Student Association (ASA).

“It’s not under ASA’s purview in any way,” Anderson said.

Elections for RHA will take place Sept. 26 and 27. Students will vote only for RHA members in their same residential area.