The Southwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH) hosted the Regional Business Conference (RBC), at the University of Texas in Austin on March 24-25


Group photo of RHA Students

The Southwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (SWACURH) hosted the Regional Business Conference (RBC), at the University of Texas in Austin on March 24-25. Over 70 people attended the conference, including University of Houston (UH) Residence Hall Association/National Residence Hall Honorary advisors, student representatives, and SWACURH RBC staff. Institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas currently make up the SWACURH region.

Eleven institutions participated in the regional conference and included Texas A&M University, West Texas A&M University, Stephen F. Austin State University, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, Midwestern State University, University of Arkansas, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Houston.

UH RHA Conference Participants:

  • Juliann Losey – Assistant Director of Residence Life, DEI & Wellness | RHA Advisor
  • Andrei Merkoulov – SHRL Graduate Assistant | Graduate Student Advisor of RHA
  • Alyssa Green – RHA National Communications Coordinator (NCC)
  • Omar Castanon – RHA National Communications Coordinator In-Training (NCC-IT)
  • Donna Keeya – RHA President was unable to attend and was represented by Omar Castanon
  • Pranav Bommekal – NRHH President – Served as the NRHH representative

RHA attends the SWACURH annually to gain leadership development training, networking, programming, and more while also achieving a better understanding of RHA and NRHH. Representatives from each participating institution are also invited attend boardroom sessions to discuss regional business, bidding awards, and legislation.

RHA National Communications Coordinator (NCC), Alyssa Green stated “One goal that I took from the conference was resilience. The keynote speaker spoke on the topic, and it really resonated with me as a student leader. In our positions, student leaders must have resilience.”

The UH RHA team competed across 13 bid categories with a total of 24 nominations. The UH RHA team was nominated for the following awards:

  • First-Year Experience Award – Recognizes the outstanding contributions of a first-year student. This award encourages involved first-year students to remain active in leadership positions and to continue improving the residence hall environment on campus
  • Emily Gentry National Communications Chair of the Year Award - Recognizes outstanding service to SWACURH by an individual who serves as an NCC and has been directly affiliated with the organization.
  • Graduate Student Advisor of the Year Award - Recognizes outstanding service by a graduate student that went beyond their job description while serving in an advising capacity to a residence hall leadership group.
  • RHA Building Block of the Year Award - Recognizes an RHA that has made significant steps in the development of its organization. The award honors the RHA which displays tremendous effort and improvement in its residence hall environment from the previous academic year to the present.
  • RHA President of the Year Award - Recognizes outstanding service to a campus organization, SWACURH, and NACURH by an individual who has been directly affiliated with the organization as an RHA president or equivalent.

The UH RHA group closed out conference participation with four awards. SWACURH presented the following awards to professionals and student leaders to recognize their dedication and commitment to the organization. A UH RHA representative also won the Golden Duck Award, given for excellence in conference participation.

UH RHA Award Recipients:

  • Emily Gentry National Communications Chair (NCC) of the Year Award: Alyssa Green, NCC
  • RHA President of the Year Award: Donna Keeya, President
  • Graduate Student Advisor of the Year Award: Andrei Merkoulov, GA Advisor
  • First Year Experience Award: Omar Castanon, NCC-IT
  • Golden Duck Award: Pranav Bommekal, NRHH President

The SWACURH Regional Business Conference was a positive experience for RHA members and presented participants with numerous learning opportunities for program implementation in UH residence halls.

“I plan to proactively address challenges faced in residential halls, considering the insights and solutions shared by fellow conference attendees. I am eager to implement these takeaways to enhance my role and contribute to creating a positive environment for students here at UH,” said Omar Castanon (RHA National Communications Coordinator In-Training).

To obtain additional information about UH RHA, contact Juliann Losey at jlosey@central.uh.edu.