Life + Arts Profile

A day in a life of an executive RHA member

Busy is one of many words to describe the members of the Residence Halls Association’s Hall Council

Sydney Hetherington juggles many responsibilities as RHA’s vice president of programming, including oversight of two hall councils. | Courtesy of Sydney Hetherington

“Busy” is one of many words to describe the members of the Residence Halls Association executive board.

Formed to represent those living on campus, members of RHA’s governing student body help communicate the needs and concerns of residents and plan events for their respective hall.

However, keeping up with the needs of the halls is no easy feat, according to hotel and restaurant management junior Sydney Hetherington.

But fortunately, Hetherington adjusted quickly due to her experience from the RHA Rotational Program last year. In addition to training her for her potential role, it inspired her to apply for a hall council position.

“The (RHA Rotational Program) was an opportunity including mentorship from each executive board member throughout the year,” Hetherington said. “After learning each person’s role and even working with other hall councils, it was amazing to see how an organization of students could have such a large impact on others’ lives.”

Currently serving as RHA’s vice president of programming, Hetherington’s position puts her in charge of planning all organization events from start to finish, including task delegation. 

Equipped with a knack for event planning, she uses her passion for it towards the creation of each student event.

“Each event has to be planned in a way that will reach every student differently,” Hetherington said. “For example, one of the past events included interest points for different students. Food, karaoke, coffee and even stickers are different reasons students come out and have a good time or meet new people.”

With each event comes challenges, as Hetherington encounters roadblocks in her work. Although a limited budget is one she struggles with, other challenges, however, persist.

“Each event’s goal is to make the most students happy using the least amount of energy with each event,” she said. “Having a limited budget this year makes it difficult to plan, but small things can make a big difference.”

“Since I am only in my second year at the University, one of my biggest challenges is lack of knowledge,” Hetherington added. “I do not know what school was like before the pandemic, and event-planning during is not the easiest task. That said, it is a good reason to reach out to older students and receive advice on how to plan events and such.”

Connecting with students is what Hetherington considers the best part of her job. Through her interactions, she grows potential friendships, some of which can last beyond graduation.

Hetherington appreciates making friendships immensely as she did not have the opportunity with her hall council. During that time, everything remained online due to COVID-19.

“This year, it has been a lot of fun being able to see new members in person and make that face-to-face connection,” she said. “A lot of hall council members end up becoming good friends as well as easy networking opportunities. I still chat with my previous mentors every now and then even as they enter the real world after graduation.”

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