Campus leaders impart advice for incoming students

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

Junior chemistry major Rachael Johnson was not always as involved at Eastern before serving as president of the Residence Hall Association.

She described her freshman-year self as the kid who sat in her room and did homework.

“I regret it,” Johnson said. “I wish I had been more involved freshman year.”

This is one of the reasons her advice to new students coming to Eastern is to get involved in different extracurricular activities.

“It opens up so many opportunities,” Johnson said. “You don’t know what’s out there until you go grab it.”

Johnson said the RHA assists and supports students who live on campus. As president, she leads their weekly meetings.

Throughout the year, RHA plans events such as ROC fest, which is a campus-wide competition between the residence halls. ROC fest includes games such as boat races and scavenger hunts for “panther babies” made out of paper.

Any freshman or transfer students who want to join RHA can do so by getting elected to be an RHA representative by their residence halls.

Students can get voting rights in the meetings by becoming an RHA representative, but they do not have to be an RHA representative to go to the meetings.

“Anyone is welcome to be at the meetings,” Johnson said.

Tylen Elliott, a junior communication studies major, also advises new students to become active in Eastern’s community.

Elliott, who is the chair of University Board and president of Black Student Union, said part of becoming involved is meeting new people.

“There is so much to do,” Elliott said. “I’ve really grown a lot, stepped out of my comfort zone.”

As a part of the UB, Elliott and various coordinators plan and organize many events around campus, such as concerts, Homecoming, and beginning-of-the-year events such as Quakin’ in the Quad and Up All Night.

“We have open positions,” Elliott said. “All you have to do is apply online.”

Once UB receives the application, applicants participate in a phone interview. After the phone interview is an interview in front of the board members.

The only requirements are a designated GPA and the completion of two office hours by board members every week.

“We’re kind of like a family, so the more diversity we have the better,” Elliott said.

Shirmeen Ahmad, student body president, said her involvement started in high school when she was a part of student government.

“I love knowing you can be a voice on campus,” Ahmad said. “We are the backbone of the university. When students have problems and issues and different things happen, we work on coming up with different solutions and initiatives.”

Ahmad said she and the rest of student government wants students to get everything they need when they are here.

To join student government, students fill out an application and take it to a Student Senate member before the interview process.

“Student government is a great way to know your school,” Ahmad said.

Some advice Ahmad has for new students is to make the most of their time here.

“Get involved in anything you can. It leads you to finding things you want to do,” she said. “Learn from every single thing that you are doing.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812