Collaboration or Conflict?



Every fall for the past ten years, student government has collaborated with RHA, the Residence Hall Association, to host a large fair for students that live on campus. The partnership between the organizations has been strong and very beneficial for both groups and for the student body. Josh is the president of student government this year, and has looked forward to helping coordinate the event. Earlier in the year, Josh met with Alanna, the president of RHA, to discuss the event. Her response was lukewarm at best, and Josh has heard that she says many negative things about student government. Josh and several other members of student government have reached out to Alanna repeatedly, but her responses have been sporadic and curt.

When Josh suggested they meet with their advisors to work out the details, Alanna flatly denied his request, saying RHA was too busy to think about the fair yet. The event is quickly approaching, with many details that need to be worked out, permits that need to be applied for, and vendors that need to be contacted. Josh is concerned that any further delays will seriously impact the quality of the event, which is an on-campus favorite. Other members of student government have been encouraging Josh to end the collaboration and fully adopt the event, but as president, the decision ultimately lies with him. Josh is concerned that planning the event without RHA this year could end ten years of positive collaboration, and damage the future relationship of RHA and student government. When student government and RHA have worked together, they have produced great events that are very popular with the student body. Josh doesn’t want to take this away from future classes, but he also feels that he has exhausted all his options with Alanna, and must do something to ensure the event goes well this year.

What would you do in Josh’s position? Have you ever faced a significant challenge collaborating with other organizations or offices? How did you negotiate these situations?

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