The RHA Senate unanimously voted 37-0 to support a proposal to fund South Campus Dining Hall bathroom renovations — including adding a gender-inclusive bathroom — on Tuesday night, as well as electing its president and vice president for the 2018-19 academic year.
Dining Services proposed renovations that would demolish the stairway and landing — where they would install a wheelchair lift — and existing bathrooms in the dining hall, according to the proposal. The renovations would provide new tile, mirrors, doors and hardware, and a gender-inclusive bathroom would be added, the proposal read.
Dining Services first proposed this project in 2017, but it was placed on hold because the department could cover only $250,000 of the $485,000 it would cost. The RHA proposal requests $235,000 from the Student Facilities Fund — which any organization can apply to draw funds from — while the remaining funding would come from Dining Services.
Rather than reducing the project scope and focusing on just one aspect — American Disabilities Act modifications or restroom enhancements — Dining Services believed that students want, need and deserve both, according to the proposal.
RHA President Dana Rodriguez showed strong support of the proposal.
"The bathrooms in the South Campus diner and a lot of the amenities in the South Campus diner are not accessible to people," Rodriguez said. "If you're in a wheelchair, you are unable to access the bathroom from the dining hall, and that's unacceptable."
After voting on the Dining Services resolution, the senate voted anonymously for the presidential and vice presidential elections. Bryan Gallion, a junior journalism major, and Benjamin Reichard, junior government and politics major, were elected as the group's president and vice president, respectively.
Gallion said he wanted to run for office after seeing the impact RHA has on residents and its members after serving on the body for the past three years. As president, he wants to continue to spread RHA's message across the campus and work with more diverse groups, while still focusing on resident concerns, he said.
"At the end of the day, it's our residents' voices that need to be the focus of the events we have, the initiatives we take on and the resolutions we pass," Gallion said.
While Gallion is a journalism major, he said he still thinks it's important to hold leadership roles and be a voice for residents on the campus.
"I have my whole career to practice journalism and write about important issues, but now is my time in college to advocate on behalf of the student body," he said. "I want to take that and run with it."
Reichard said he was motivated to run for vice president because of his passion for policy advocacy and after encouragement from previous vice presidents.
"I want to motivate the body to really seek action-oriented solutions to our problems, then take that action," Reichard said.
Rodriguez said she is very confident in both Reichard's and Gallion's ability to lead the RHA next upcoming year.
"Bryan has had three years of experience in RHA, and he's worked on many different levels," Rodriguez said. "Ben has served now for three years and has brought forward resolutions, has fought for opinions that aren't always the first to be said."