I attended the Rutgers University South Asian Students in Sciences (RUSASS) Speaker Series I featuring Patrick Bocco, who is the Director of Fundraising at Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. I attended this event because it was relevant to my career objective of being a doctor and one of my good friends, Neel Patel, is the president of the organization and was recruiting people to come to the event.
Overall, considering that the attendance of the event was much greater than the attendance of any of their past speaker events, the event was a success. The positive aspects of the event were that the board members of the organization introduced themselves and the cause that they were advocating for. They were effective in communicating how serious of a problem AIDS is around the world, and why contributing money to research and development for a cure for AIDS is so important. Another aspect I liked about the event was that the speaker was very well informed and did a masterful job of presenting himself and his organization. I was inspired by the message that the speaker was trying to convey, which was to educate, prevent, and treat AIDS. Since the event was around dinner time, it was wise of the executive board to purchase food and beverages. Utilizing a section of the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) for the event was a good choice because it allowed the organization to set up classroom style seating while not having too much empty room. If the room is too big for an event, it makes it appear as if the attendance is a lot less than the actual number. Furthermore, having the event in the Busch Campus Center was a good choice because it was relevant to the most number of students.
Although the event was mostly positive and a step in the right direction for a relatively unknown organization, there were still a few aspects that were not conducive to their goals. Primarily, since the executive members of the organization forced many students to come to the event, it seemed that the individuals in attendance were not passionate about the cause. Moreover, many of these people just came to eat free dinner, and left while the event was in progress. Secondarily, the executive board members really distanced themselves from the general member population by being inclusive by partaking in “inside jokes”, etc. The executive members of the organization were dressed very formally and did not relate to or communicate with many of the individuals in attendance on a personal level. Another aspect that negatively reflected on their organization was the lack of unity. The event did not start on time, and a general sense of organization and leadership was not present.
Considering that the organization is new and still trying to develop a general member base in the Rutgers community, the event was successful. The relevance of the speaker to the topic of discussion made it easy for the attendees at the event to understand the purpose of the organization. If RUSASS can become more organized, and involve their general members in some minor decision making, I think that they will be enticing many students to join in the future. Furthermore, if they can make the individuals that attend their events feel as if they are already part of the organization and they are needed, the attendance at their events will continue to increase. Rutgers University, being a research institution, has many student researchers, and if RUSASS wants to cater to a significant portion of that population, they will have to be more relatable. After reflection and some critical thinking, I think the RUSASS board will realize that these changes are necessary to accomplish their goals in the Rutgers community and be influential and relevant student leaders.