BostoNU: Q&A: Chuck Berds, RSA president

BostoNU: Q&A: Chuck Berds, RSA president

by Jenna Duncan, News Staff

Huntington News: What does the Resident Student Association (RSA) do?
Chuck Berds: We are a programming and advocating body on campus. We put on programs for the residents, we advocate by them by posting up flyers, for example, asking if students have laundry problems or comments, complaints or suggestions in your hall that can make your on-campus living experience any better.

HN: What sort of events does RSA coordinate?
CB: We have some very signature programs, such as the Husky Hunt, which is a 24-hour scavenger hunt throughout Boston, normally between October and November. There’s multiple different challenges, with scavenger hunt clues that bring you as far out as Allston or Brighton or bring you down to the North End. It’s for freshmen who want to get to know the city more. And obviously there’s prizes for the grand prize winner, so some upperclassmen do it for the incentive to be the best. We also [collaborate with the Student Alumni Association (SAA) for] Snowball, which is a 1,200-person formal. It’s kind of like prom, and that takes place downtown … We do Sex Week in the spring, and that happens around February, and is a week-long event about sex education programs surrounding sexual relationships and things like that.

HN: How does RSA directly impact students?
CB: A section of RSA is the Hall Councils, and we are in charge of all the Hall Councils. Each hall or complex of halls, like West Village E and F, [has a council] where they have a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer and they’re in charge of doing programming in their halls. So we’re in charge of doing these large-scale projects that effect all residents on campus, there are hall councils that work directly with the residents in certain halls so they have that communication. And also the hall council is our eyes and ears to notify us if there’s anything with advocacy issues and if anything needs to be changed or updated.

HN: What kinds of issues can students go to RSA with, and how can RSA help them?
CB: If they’re having issues as simple as “My light’s not working in my room.” You can fill out a work order for that [on myNEU], but if you’re a first-year student that doesn’t know about work orders we can fill one out and teach them and help instruct them on those sorts of things. As far as “I want to see cranberry juice in the dining hall,” and that’s something a resident wants to do, if they come to us our vice president for housing services sits on the Food Advisory Board, and he can voice that suggestion and maybe it can happen.

HN: How specifically can you help freshmen?
CB: First years, if they’re looking for a way to get involved, there are multiple different ways to get involved within RSA. You can join the General Council, we meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. You can be part of you hall council so if you want to run and be elected to it, it’s a great way to be involved. If they’re sitting alone bored in their room, there’s multiple programs going on now for Welcome Week, so if they want to come out, there’s definitely stuff for first-year students to get involved in.

HN: Does RSA have any big plans for this year?
CB: As far as big plans this year, we aren’t too sure about it. We’ll be holding the signature programs I mentioned, like Sex Week and Husky Hunt and Snowball, but no huge plans as of yet or anything I can reveal. But definitely keep an eye out for flyers in the halls.

HN: How does the structure of RSA work?
CB: There’s seven different e-board positions, so we have the president, vice president for housing services, the vice president for finance, the vice president for administration, the vice president for programming, the vice president for collaboration and then national communication coordinator. So there’s quite a few of us, and most of us chair our own committees, and there are multiple committees in RSA that students can be involved. Whether it’s part of the programming committee to work on programs, you can be part of the housing services committee to work on advocacy issues, finance committee or administration committee to work on internal stuff, conferences and all those sorts of things … The RSA meets as a general body Wednesday and each of the e-board members gives a report based on what their committee does.  A committee is a group of 20 or so residents from the general body that discuss these certain aspects of RSA with what the committee is charged to do. For example, in a programming committee meeting they can be brainstorming program ideas and then the e-board member that’s in charge of the committee that meets once a week reports back to the general body on what they did at the meeting. That way, a first year student in the programming committee can come to the general meeting and know what happened in student                                services and know about all those different aspects.

HN: How does RSA work with the university?
CB: We have great ties with the Department of Residential Life, and we wouldn’t be able to function without their help, especially with all the help of the [Resident Assistants] and Senior Resident Assistants and Residence Directors to help us mold the hall councils since they all sit as advisers to the hall councils. We definitely have good ties with Student Affairs and the Office of Student Activities, and we work really closely with them when we do our programming.

HN: Since RSA has been involved with Welcome Week, what else can students expect?
CB: Thursday afternoon we’ll be at the Activities Fair in Krentzman Quad [at 3 p.m.] and in the evening we’ll be holding trivia night at afterHOURS at 10 p.m. for anyone that’s interested in that. On Friday evening we’ll be having a “First Friday” Midnight BBQ event that actually begins at 9:30 p.m. but will go until midnight, so that gives first year students an alternative way to be involved and will be in the Freshmen Quad. Then Saturday afternoon there is PikeFest and we’re collaborating with them, and will be in the back having a barbecue, so if anyone wants to stop by it’ll be good.

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