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Residence Hall Association best in Michigan

April 14, 2006

KALAMAZOO--The Residence Hall Association at Western Michigan University has been named School of the Year and its 2005-06 president has been named RHA President of the Year by the Michigan Organization of Residence Hall Associations.

The awards were announced during the MORHA's annual conference, held in March at Michigan State University. Also during the conference, Chuck Ringer, a WMU junior from Lincoln Park, Mich., majoring in psychology, was elected director of the MORHA. As such, Ringer will preside over the organization's 11-member executive board for the 2006-07 academic year.

This is the first time the University's student governance group for residence halls has received the top president award. It went to Chris Praedel, a sophomore from Kalamazoo majoring in management and in political science. The last time WMU received the top school award was 1991.

"I've been involved with RHA for three years and I'm proud that now others can see the caliber of Western's student leaders," says Ringer. "Winning School of the Year is the culmination of not only this year's successes, but of the past years' growth and efforts."

Other honors earned by WMU's RHA this year include two regional awards from the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls. The University was recognized as the Most Improved RHA among the Great Lakes region's 58 affiliate schools, and staff member Lynnae Stankus, director of Henry Hall, won the Advisor of the Year award.

Those honors qualify WMU to represent the Great Lakes region in the same two award categories at the national residence hall association conference Saturday, May 27, through Monday, June 5, at the University of California at Berkeley.

"All the recent accolades are well deserved and a great way for the University's Residence Hall Association to celebrate its 25th anniversary," says Laura Darrah, WMU assistant director of Residence Life. "Our students have made the Residence Hall Association a vibrant part of campus life for the past quarter century, and our dynamic student leaders have been exceptional this year."

Darrah notes that 2005-06 has been an active year for RHA in terms of residence hall programming

The association implemented several new initiatives, including a campuswide spirit project, a motivational guest speaker series, a cake and cookie order program for parents, and Say Hey Week, which took place early in the fall semester to help students get acquainted.

In addition, RHA expanded various existing traditions, such as adding a fall Little Sibs Weekend and having the highest attendance in several years at the group's annual fall and winter leadership retreats.

For more information, contact Laura Darrah at laura.darrah@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4463.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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