IRA expects to see “busy semester”

Bob Just, the president of the Inter-Residence Association (IRA), said he thinks IRA accomplished a lot during the fall semester, but is looking forward to 2009. “A year ago most people had no idea that IRA was even an organization. This year, I think IRA has been in the spotlight with some important issues that we, as well as other organizations, are trying to tackle,” Just said.In collaboration with the Student Government Association (SGA) this past semester, the IRA has proposed a new meal plan and served on the first Naked Bike Ride Task Force, Just said. The IRA contributed this year to the annual Robert Channing event, Wingsfest and Postsecret in collaboration with other groups on campus.The past semester was also marked with controversy concerning the IRA’s proposal of a bed waiver compensation, where IRA Executive Board members would be provided with a traditional double room in an on-campus residence hall without charge.”[The] IRA has been brainstorming ideas as to how we can restructure the organization to strive toward. our vision of being the prominent on-campus student voice that works to improve the quality of life within the res-halls,” Just said. “While I am sure there are many ways that this can be accomplished, the idea behind a bed waiver compensation was something that we felt would be a great way to reach our vision as an organization.”Just said that after the idea was “leaked,” it was brought to the attention of the entire student body, causing a great deal of commotion, filling IRA e-mail with hundreds of comment cards by outraged students.”Some thought we were trying to go behind the backs of students and tried to pass this compensation without anyone knowing about it, but that is hardly the case,” Just said. The Executive Board eventually decided not to pursue compensation for this year.”Students felt we were trying to take their money and keep it for ourselves, which is ludicrous,” Just said. “We believe at this point that any compensation shall not take effect until next year, to show the residents that this is not driven by ulterior motives.””The idea of bed waiver compensation was merely an idea that [the executive board] had been discussing,” Just said.Just said that the IRA will continue to brainstorm new programming ideas, including the possibility of another collaborative event with UPB with a “Battle of the Bands” idea, as well as the possibility of a UVM Family Feud and much more. The IRA is also working to put together a new cable package with Residential Life. “We have collected over 800 responses from residents as to what TV channels they want to see in the halls and now we are working to get as many of those channels as possible,” Just said.