While most people were traveling home for their first weekend of Thanksgiving break, 10 students traveled to the Great Lakes Affiliate of Colleges and University Residence Halls (GLACURH) Leadership Conferenceto represent Western Illinois University. While at Oakland University, the group was able to bring home nine awards; among them was the School of the Year award.
The Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls is a student-run organization working to promote and improve student life on college and university campuses across the region. Schools in attendance consisted of Iowa State, Ball State, Illinois State and many others. Formed in 1968, the group’s main focus is to continue providing quality programming and activities for on-campus residents.
Koyo Masore, Brooke Barnes, Derek Lahey, Matt Zumwalt, Tea Wheat, Shelby Mech, Katlynn Davis, John Porn, Alex Brown and Nathan Simon attended the conference, learning about how other schools across the region run operations on their various campuses.
“I took away great programs to bring back to Western,” Davis said. “As well as ways to make Western more competitive at future programs.”
The organization’s main goal is to help member schools by providing resources and exchanging information to improve their campus climate and develop students into strong leaders at their institution.
Wheat, Davis and Mech were selected by their peers to present programs at the conference. Wheat presented “Diversity in the Dark,” which focused on many topics not normally talked about in day-to-day life, bringing light to them.
Mech presented “Peanut- Butter Jelly Sandwich” and both Davis and Mech presented “Speed Friending.” “Speed Friending” was selected as a Top 10 Program Award.
“I was nervous going into the conference because not only was it my first time going to a conference, but my first time presenting,” Davis said. “I can’t wait to apply to be a part of the next delegation.”
Simon was also recognized on a regional and national level by being the Student Staff Member of the Month for providing quality service when delivering the Western Courier across campus. Simon was nominated by Lahey and was approved on both levels.
Lahey, National Communication Coordinator for Inter Hall Council, Zumwalt, President of NRHH, Killian Tracy, Inter Hall Council president and Wheat, Resident Assistant all wrote a multiple page bid talking about the great changes and improvements Western has made over the course of the year. This bid was to win School of the Year, the region’s highest award.
“There was a 10 minute presentation that Matt and I gave giving us the opportunity to talk about how Western has made improvements to benefit their students over the last year,” Lahey said. Following the presentation they asked us questions mostly revolving around how we were able to bounce back against negative budget cuts and puton big events throughout the year.”
Lahey and Zumwalt presented a 30 page slide explaining how Western was able to implement student voice in making decisions such as bringing Chickfil- A to campus. They also explained how they were able to combat a $500,000 budget cut in dining services and how they were able to implement things like new C-Store hours to still accommodate top student needs. “In order to win this award institution shave to have a very good housing board, great resident assistants, a great Inter Hall Council and a great NRHH chapter who work cohesively with each other,” Lahey said. “You also have to be good at about bragging about your university as a whole, which wasn’t a problem for Matt and I.”
Lahey enjoyed being a representative of Western because it was cool to compare and contrast the harder budget cuts and staffing issues other institutions have, especially when students and staff don’t work cohesively like that of Western.
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