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Building community is a priority for RHA

Photo: Lauren Horsch

Q: How did you become interested in a Residence Life position?
A: I came to Drake last year as a Vocal Performance major, and joined the executive council of a residence hall because it allowed me to do something other than performing and singing.  Last year, I made really bad posters, hung them up, and became President of Morehouse.  We had a great Executive Council, and ended up winning Hall of the Year.

Q: What was your own residence life experience like last year?
A: I lived on the second floor of Morehouse.  I love Morehouse.  I had a fantastic random roommate, and I was actually able to set up my piano in my dorm. I had an RA that was supportive of our whole floor and who pushed us to get involved.  Sometimes Morehouse first-year students can feel left out, but I never felt that way.

Q: How many individuals are on RHA executive council this year?  How do you feel about the group you are working with?
A: I believe we have eleven members this year, and those positions cover everything from finance chair to environmental chair.  I have an amazing board this year. They’re so ecstatic about all the projects we are working on; they’re always saying, “yeah let’s do it” even though we have a lot on our plate right now.  RHA EC is a job, it is a responsibility, but it does not have the financial compensations of a job.  We don’t do RHA EC for perks or pay; we do it because it is fun.

Q: Describe your leadership style.
A: I like to get students excited with my energy.  I’m straightforward, I don’t like drama or gossip, and I like to stay focused.  I try to help our EC see both sides to every issue.  I like to be more reserved and observant so others can speak their mind.  I exercise my voice and opinion less than last year, so that when I do feel strongly about something my opinion is more powerful.  I’ll be as straightforward and honest with you as you are with me, and that’s important.  I haven’t gotten any complaints as of yet!

Q: What did you learn from the RHA EC last year? How will you apply those lessons to this year?
A: Last year I observed former RHA President Sean Walsh, and he gave us a great footing to start off this semester.  We really hope to take last years Executive Council ideas into account.  I think there may have been some issues with planning in advance last year, so we will work on that.  Drake’s Got Talent was a huge success last year so we hope to continue that.  We want to rethink the way we did our RHA Hall Crawl, and re-energize siblings weekend.  As RHA EC we want to constantly be reassessing everything.

Q: Tell us more about your life away from being RHA President.
A: I am a sophomore Vocal Performance major and Musical Theatre minor, I am in two of the performing ensembles on campus, the Drake and Chamber choirs.  This summer I went to China though a musical Ambassadorship.  I spent most of my summer in New York with an opera company.   Over 4000 people auditioned, and I was one of the lucky 32 who were selected.  I was actually the youngest person in the company, and they have asked me to return next year.

Q: What is the value of Residence Hall living?
A: When one thinks of college, so many think of that residence hall experience, doing your own laundry, and the idea of being on your own is so cool.  We have such a good system here at Drake.  I see residence life as a community, everyone takes care of each other and it just works.

Q: Tell us some things about Residence life that students may not know.
A: RHA has the largest membership on campus, and we want people know that we can be a huge resource for campus organizations.  We want students to know that we are a governing body, that we do have a budget, and that our goal is to make residence life better for every student.

Q: Talk about some goals you have for the year.
A: My frustration as a student is that I pay all these fees, but I don’t know where they go.  I want students to know that there is programming out there for everyone.  I also want to start bridging the gap between campus life and Greek life.  I want to bring the values of brotherhood/sisterhood to campus and to create a marriage between the two organizations.   We want to build community in the residence halls without forcing it

Q: What is your favorite part about your new position as RHA President?
A: I get to meet new people every day.  That’s what is so cool about Drake, it’s not gigantic but I can always meet someone new.  I look at crowds and realize that everyone has their own story.  I think it’s so interesting to see how people interact, and that’s the cool thing about leading, I get to observe and solve problems.  My job is so fun, yes, it’s stressful but everything RHA can do is so amazing.  We have so many ways to get involved.   You may be the sports guy, the shy studious person, or someone who likes to lead, RHA has the ability to bring all these different people together, and that’s amazing.

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