The United Residence Hall Council (URHC) is not your average club at the University of Tennessee. Did you know that if you live on campus you are a part of URHC? The organization stands as the second largest club at UT.
The organization aims to make living on campus a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all. But according to URHC President, Meghan Byrge, it’s more than just decorating residence halls and hosting events.
“Community building is the main goal for URHC and just helping the campus be integrated and helping our campus community grow and foster those relationships,” Byrge said.
Residence halls are held responsible for building community within them as they have individual budgets and executive boards. URHC serves as an umbrella organization to all residence halls to build overall campus community.
URHC’s goal of promoting relationships and community on campus comes with hard work from dedicated leaders. The organization hosts “Trunk-or-treat” before Halloween every year in Circle Park. Students and clubs set up themed Halloween “trunks” in the back of their cars as children are able to go from car to car trick-or-treating. This event serves to unite the residence halls, as well as connecting them to the local Knoxville community.
URHC Secretary, Beverly Banks, believes that living on campus for two years was the best decision she could have made.
“It’s important to live on campus because you’re gonna have somewhere close by where you can go and rest, you’re gonna be able to go back and forth, and make it from point A to point B in a timely fashion,” Banks said.
Byrge added, “College is hard. Being an adult is hard and trying to do those things at the same time can be a little difficult, and I think living on campus really provides a little bit of a bridge or a buffer to adulthood almost. I think it’s a little easier when you have friends next door and you have people right down the hall that care about you.”
With the demolishment Andy Holt Apartments and the rise of news residence halls on Andy Holt and Lake Loudon, on-campus housing continues to evolve. In light of these changes, URHC is evolving as well.
“It’s definitely been really hard losing some residence halls and hall associations, because next year there will be no Humes and Reese,” Byrge said. “The important thing is to make sure the people that did live in the halls that are going away can still be a part of the campus community, and reaching out to the halls that are going up and making sure they are included in the process.”
Banks urges students living on campus to pursue an active role working with URHC.
“URHC stands to understand, respect, help and care,” Banks said. “If those four things are something that you’re interested in, then this is the organization for you. I have learned how to do each and every one of those aspects through my time in URHC. Some of the best leaders on campus are in this organization.”
URHC meets every other Monday at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Building room 27. The last meeting is on April 4, and anyone is welcome to come.
Meetings involve funding proposals, speakers, and agenda setting, but also serve as a forum where students can voice their concerns. The organization encourages feedback from students living on campus in order to make the community of residents stronger.
Any other interests can be brought to the URHC office in Hess hall. Anytime the office light is on and the door is open, students are welcome to stop by.
Starting April 11, URHC is hosting diversity week programs within the residence halls that are welcome to all students. To stay up to date on events hosted by URHC and other items on the agenda follow their twitter and Facebook page.
Feature image courtesy of the URHC Facebook page
Edited by Jessica Carr