Pillars of Canisius – RHA: Thanksgiving sit-down dinner keeps “king of clubs” on their toes

By Robert Creenan
Griffin Reporter

If you’ve ever been among the 1,300 or so resident students on campus, you no doubt know about Residence Hall Association (RHA). They’re nearly ubiquitous with campus events and services for student dorms and are, every once in a while, confused with the Office of Student Life.

Their main goals are providing a community for residents and making sure that students feel comfortable enough to consider their dorm rooms a home away from where they grew up. RHA also runs many of Canisius’ most popular events like the Thanksgiving dinner in the Economou Dining Hall and Best of Buffalo.  They also run Mr. Canisius, the pageant featuring male students representing various clubs on campus, competing to chose a charity to donate ticket sales.

Several Sundays throughout the semester, RHA (and Project Conservation) members are on call for Grilled Cheese and Smoothie Nigh to cook and deliver grilled cheese, nachos, and smoothies on campus. RHA always sponsors a fall event, two  Mid-Night Breakfasts (one during each finals week), and the Shind-Iggy on Ignatian Scholarship Day, bringing Buffalo foods to campus, including R&R BBQ, ETS, and Mighty Taco.

RHA also runs a number of Hall Councils, or groups of student representatives from their respective residence halls on campus who meet on the council to generate a forum to discuss issues in residence halls and organize events aimed at building a community within their respective halls. “Hall Council’s job is to make sure things are going swimmingly,” said Hannah Flynn, the Resident Assistant Liaison. “Every Hall has to do two events per semester. Like this past week, Bosch did a cookies and cocoa event with other free food.”

RHA is commonly known on campus as the self-proclaimed “The King of Clubs,” a title it’s had for as long as anyone on campus can remember. So much so that’s on their free water bottles and frisbees at club recruitment events. RHA views itself as the “glue” that holds the campus together, since resident life makes up such a huge part of it.

Flynn knows that RHA is constantly under pressure to make sure that the events go well. “It just doesn’t hurt the eboard, it hurts a lot of things,” Flynn said. “It’s wasted money if it doesn’t go well and it’s wasted time and effort for all the work we put into it. We feel the need to put 110 percent into each event we put on.” President Angelo Licastro, picking up the RHA reins from two-year sovereign Nicole Gangloff ‘15 MBA ‘16,  finds plenty of joy in putting on these events and powering through the problems that come up. “We all love Canisius and enjoy enriching the lives of students through our events.”

Many of the events that RHA puts on are regarded as “signature” events. These are events that have become synonymous with attending Canisius and ones that the whole student body looks forward to. Everything that RHA has goes into making these events going off without a hitch. “Last year, I was one of the co-chairs for Mr. Canisius, and it was not easy,” Flynn recounted. “We’d have to go to every single practice to make sure the guys are learning their dances and exercises correctly. But it’s totally worth it for all the time and effort that gets put into it.” Many students attend the pageant each year, and it’s been regarded as one of the most popular events on campus for the spring.

RHA may be named to serve the resident student body, but RHA wants the whole student body to attend their events. “Commuters are more than welcome to come to our events,” Flynn stated. “Teachers come to our events too, like the Thanksgiving sit-down, so we’re certainly not going to turn them away.” Dr. Terri Mangione of Student Affairs, Sharon Kasperczyk of Alumni Engagement, and Dr. Jonathan Lawrence were among those serving food to students.

While RHA may be the glue that holds Canisius together, Licastro states that he thinks that “every club and organization on campus is what makes Canisius such a cohesive community.” Humble words, for a king.


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