We are the Squirrels
We Rock our pearls
We’re Baldwin Women
Not Baldwin Girls
– 2010–11 Residence Hall Association cheer
Mary Baldwin University’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) was awarded for its exceptional programs and “Boldly Baldwin” spirit at this year’s Virginia Association of College and University Residence Halls conference.
The annual, student-organized conference brings together institutions of higher learning in Virginia to celebrate their successes, rework their failures, and collaborate on fresh ideas for their residential programs. Student leaders are acknowledged for programs that they present both at the conference and at their respective schools. This year, six delegates from Mary Baldwin — RHA board members Laura Kleiner ’11, Courtney Saunders ’12, and Justyna Bernacki ’12 and hall presidents Kyrra Nicholson ’14, Brittany Kindle ’13, and Cassandra Jones ’14 — attended the conference at Radford University.
The conference consisted of three main events: an opening ceremony that allowed students to mingle with representatives of other residence hall programs; programming sessions in which leaders learned about other programs and ideas to take back to their schools; and an awards banquet, where student leaders and their exceptional programs were recognized.
Although Mary Baldwin was one of the smallest schools represented at the conference, Baldwin students managed to earn the Most Spirited School award. Saunders, RHA secretary, was crowned Most Spirited Delegate for her outstanding personality and ambition.
Each school submitted a banner and display to represent their school. The Mary Baldwin women did not win an award for best display, but they brought home the Best Banner distinction, and their work is now on display in the Student Life offices at Mary Baldwin.
Mary Baldwin also claimed the biggest victory of the night — the award for Best Program.
“The haunted house that we put together last October won by a landslide, meaning that we had the best program in Virginia,” beamed RHA Treasurer Bernacki. “We are greatly encouraged to take it to nationals this summer to see if we can win best program in the nation.”
A cobweb-covered Bowman House, located on the corner of North Coalter and Kable streets, was the setting for “Haunted Hills,” which featured the ghosts of founders Rufus Bailey and Mary Julia Baldwin.
Kleiner, RHA acting chairwoman, was named Top Award Winner for her presentation on peace and interfaith matters. The trophy represented one of the top six awards at the program.
“I was inspired [to give the presentation] because I’m the faith chairwoman of Virginia Young Democrats, a peacemaking and conflict resolution minor, a Quest member, and I did Faith training at the White House this year,” Kleiner said. “Faith and peace are the two most important things in my life.”
Bernacki said going to the conference inspired her and other RHA representatives from Mary Baldwin.
“We learned a lot of things that we’ve brought back to Mary Baldwin and plan to use to better our association and programs,” Bernacki said. “Winning all of those awards is amazing if you only consider our size, but not as surprising when you consider our enthusiasm and heart.”