Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

InterHall Must Decentralize

InterHall was created with a noble intention: to encourage a spirit of community among residents of Georgetown’s dormitories. But like many student organizations on campus, InterHall has become unnecessarily bureaucratic, and it has failed to maintain student interest in its activities.

The sad result is that many student positions in the organization go unfilled.

Founded in 1998 and run by the Office of Residence Life, InterHall acts as the top tier of residential student government. At the bottommost level, each floor in a dormitory has a Neighborhood Council to help coordinate floor events with the resident assistant. Usually one representative from the floor’s Neighborhood Council is chosen to participate in the Community Council, which organizes residence hall-wide events. One exceptional council this year, in Darnall Hall, was able to sponsor a Darnall Dance and a Hurricane bracelet charity drive.

According to InterHall’s Web site, the organization is made up of an executive board -a president, two vice presidents, treasurer and secretary – and a General Assembly, which determines the events it wants to cosponsor and fund. Assembly members fill several committees and “work to promote the interests of Georgetown’s undergraduate residents.”

Unfortunately on this macro level, residential student government begins to lose its resonance with students. Village C East, for example, currently has no representative from its Community Council serving in InterHall.

We recommend that InterHall work to increase its transparency in the eyes of students, cut down on unnecessary committees and encourage broader participation in events that matter to students.

The group should be praised for organizing large-scale events like the Big Hunt that might not otherwise take place; however, it should keep in mind that the best way residential student government can serve students is by responding to their individual needs. The best way to do this is to decentralize and provide more support – fiscal and otherwise – for RAs and local Community and Neighborhood Councils.

After all, more students are interested in getting a new microwave for their common room than going to the inter-dorm Olympics or talent show usually sponsored by InterHall.

It is not the place of InterHall to act as the money holder and the decision-maker when it comes to which events to fund. Perhaps instead, most of the organization’s funds – which it receives from the university and from the annual housing raffle – should be distributed to local councils and floors where it will really make a difference in students’ lives. Maybe then students will be relieved of paying the $25 floor funds fees they currently pay.

InterHall says on its Web site that it “seeks to give students the power and responsibility to improve residence life.” That sounds like a nice objective, but a slew of councils and boards is not necessarily the best way to achieve it.

Furthermore, a bureaucracy is particularly ineffectual when there are not enough bureaucrats to make it up.

Were InterHall to decentralize and potentially eliminate a few of its more pointless committees it might gain more respect and interest from the student body. Then the organization could work with students who are responsible for their own dorm’s finances to organize events that students actually care about.

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