About 350 college students from the Northeast were seeing green on Ithaca College’s campus last weekend at the Northeastern Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Residential Conference (NEACURH).
The conference marked the first time since 2003 that the college has hosted the event.
The college’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) welcomed their peers to share ideas about bettering the campus community.
Senior Laura Benedict, secretary of RHA, said members of RHA chose a sustainability theme for the conference, called “Marty’s GORGES Gathering.” This year’s event was named for the conference mascot, Marty the Moose, and the popular “Ithaca is Gorges” slogan.
“GORGES stands for ‘Getting Our Region Geared toward Environmental Sustainability,’” she said. “That’s what we’re here to talk about.”.
Lindsay Peck, regional director for the conference and a fifth-year student at Clark University in Massachusetts, said she was impressed with the attendance.
“I think this is the biggest conference in a very long time,” she said.
The conference, held at a difference campus each year, occurs every fall. Each college elects seven or eight students to represent their RHA organization.
Junior Brianne Lewis, president of RHA and conference chair, said the conference included a focus project to aid Loaves and Fishes, a food service bank in Ithaca.
“Loaves and Fishes anticipated raising around $100, but we ended up with over 680 items and $1,200,” she said.
The weekend kicked off Friday with “roll call,” a night of entertainment for participants. Parrotte said each college had the opportunity to show their spirit toward sustainability and battled each other with cheers and dancing.
“Schools show their spirit, something that represents them as a delegation,” she said.
Colleges presented individual programs to the group Saturday. Ideas included effective sex education, stress management and night events for students as an alternative to drinking.
Ithaca College sophomore Katie Parrotte, the conference hospitality chair, said the college didn’t present a program this year but found the sessions helpful.
“The point of programming is to teach each other about your specific topic,” she said. “It’s a giant group of people bouncing ideas off each other.”
Peck said planning the conference took a great amount of communication between colleges.
“Because we are all at different schools … we split up different positions so that we facilitate different things [and] everything gets covered when we come to the conference,” she said.
On Saturday night, awards were given for categories such as best roll call, best banner and most spirited school. Tiffani Ziemann, the college’s coordinator of judicial and education programs, and Darese Doskal-Scaffido, associate director of residence life and judicial affairs, were two of four conference advisers awarded with “Outstanding Adviser” pins.
Lewis also won the Silver Pin, awarded to a person who provided leadership and direction to NEACURH.
“I was absolutely shocked,” she said. “My first conference was when I was a freshman, and I watched other people receive this award, never thinking I would be one of them. My jaw literally dropped to the floor.”
Junior Lisa Merrill, a student at Central Connecticut State University, said she was impressed with the town of Ithaca and thought it was a good location for the conference.
“This is my fifth conference, and it is absolutely the most incredible thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “Plus, this year Ithaca was really accommodating to all our needs and my friends and I had a lot of fun walking around The Commons as well as participating in the conference itself.”