The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday January 22nd

RHA Awareness Week to Assist Dance Marathon

The Residence Hall Association launched its awareness week Monday, aiming to better educate students about the organization and raise money for the UNC Dance Marathon.

The schedule of events planned through Friday includes a "Vegas Night" on Wednesday at Carmichael Residence Hall, with the proceeds going to benefit the UNC Dance Marathon, and a free dinner at the Union Cabaret on Friday.

The Dance Marathon is a 24-hour dancing charity event in February that benefits the North Carolina Children's Hospital.

"Supporting the Dance Marathon is new this year," said RHA Vice President Lori Van Orden.

"We're really trying to get involved with other organizations and help with service."

Debbie Grafman, an RHA official who planned the awareness week, said the organization's sponsorship of these and other activities will make it more visible on campus and foster student communication with the organization.

"With RHA promoting activities, more people will know that we're here . and they can come to us with concerns, helping us voice those concerns better," she said.

The awareness week began Monday with RHA officials sitting in the Pit answering student questions and giving prizes to those who were well-educated about the organization.

Grafman said prizes such as UNC basketball tickets also would be awarded Tuesday during the finals of a campuswide "Roommate Game" held at 8:30 p.m. in the Student Union. The game will consist of UNC residents attempting to guess the personal preferences, such as favorite movie, of their roommates.

RHA officials said the focus of the week is the Wednesday "Vegas Night" event.

Grafman said the event, which will feature betting chips, card playing and karaoke, was designed as an opportunity to benefit the UNC community.

"I wanted to plan a big activity that was going to be fun for students and help a good cause," she said.

Grafman also said RHA hopes to be in the Pit on Thursday promoting the launch of RHA's new Web site, which is nearing completion.

RHA President Robin Yamakawa said it's important to get the word out about RHA because it represents more than 2,000 students on campus.

She said RHA's purpose is to serve student voice and housing concerns.

"We want to make sure everyone knows what's going on," she said.

"We want to let them know we're out there and want to work for them."

Van Orden, who was in the Pit on Monday answering student questions about RHA, said awareness of the organization already has improved from the past year.

"I'm surprised how much people know about RHA this year because last year no one knew much about us,"she said.

"But that means we're building communities, which is what RHA is all about."

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