Shivani Parikh

Name: Shivani Parikh
Hometown: Rockland County, New York
College: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Major: Development Sociology
Year: 2019

I became involved in the Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) through the Office of Residential & New Student Programs (RNSP). I joined Balch Hall Council in September 2015 and was shortly thereafter elected to the position of Residential Student Congress (RSC) Representative. The RSC is a student government organization supported through the Office of Residential Programs. Each year, representatives from residential communities, usually demarcated by building, meet weekly to debate, discuss, and act on issues of importance to their community and the residential student population as a whole. Becoming a member of the RSC was an eye-opening experience, especially as a freshman that was new to the university and its many organizations.

In October 2015, I was elected to the position of Secretary and became a member of the RSC’s executive board. This allowed me to work with upperclassmen who are more experienced with the operations and duties of the RSC. As secretary of the RSC, I am tasked with recording and publishing minutes at general body and executive board meetings, maintaining and publishing the attendance, and attending the Congress’s monthly programs and fundraisers. Through these tasks, I have worked with the directors of the RSC’s four committees, Advocacy, Finance, Programming and Public Relations. The Programming Committee’s "Cocoa ‘Round Cornell" events in particular always brighten students’ days with its free cookies and hot cocoa.

My favorite experience with the RSC was representing Cornell as a delegate at the Northeast Affiliate of the National Association of College & Association of College & University Residence Halls’ Minis 2016 Conference in March 2016 at Western New England University. I was able to bond with other RSC members and the NRHH representatives and learn about the programs being held at many other universities in the Northeast region. My time at the conference also inspired me to become the National Communications Coordinator, which is the RSC position that I will hold for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Overall, I am very glad that I became an involved member of the RSC. The perks of the free gym and bus passes aside, I have more importantly made friendships with peers who genuinely care about residential life, gained leadership skills and opportunities,  and have been able to positively impact the experience of Cornellians. I cannot wait to help Cornell’s RSC Chapter flourish at conferences and encourage freshman to involve themselves in RNSP and in the Office of the Dean of Students!