Today I sat down with one of my good friends, Michelle, and spoke with her about her manager position at the RutgersZone. Being in a leadership position in the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA), it was interesting to see the perspective of another student leader and how the Zone has a great ability to impact the Rutgers community as well. Although the Zone is very different from RUPA, including the way we are structured as well as our organizations’ ‘what’ and ‘how’ (going back to Simon Sinek’s golden circle!), I also saw some similarities. Let’s take a look at two of these commonalities that both Michelle and I share as student leaders:
The first thing Michelle explained to me is the purpose of the RutgersZone, which is to “bring happiness to the Rutgers community.” This one space in the Livingston Student Center serves many different outlets to the students. They serve ice cream, provide fun games, play music and television shows on there many screens. It gives students a place to relax, do homework, or have fun with their friends. The Zone also programs their own events, such as a networking party, an Anti-Valentines Day party, and much more. She explained that through these programs and fun/relaxing activities during the day, they really have an impact on the Rutgers community. The students who work there really try to cater to the student body’s wants and needs. Students that may live on different campuses or even commuters have the chance to come to the RutgersZone and ‘escape’ from the classroom or doing their homework.
Although RUPA is set up differently, with a different budget, or different types of events and the way that we program our events, our goal is to provide students with out of the classroom experiences. Like the Zone, we ultimately cater to the students’ wants and needs in order for them to enjoy their college experience. We program our events with the students in mind and we want to provide them with a variety of events that they will enjoy. RUPA also works closely with the Zone when we program our Buzztime Trivia nights every Wednesday and Karaoke nights once every month. Both RUPA and the RutgersZone take large strides in providing students with fun activities and impacting the college community.
It is extremely important for both employees at the Zone as well as RUPA members to understand and agree with the ‘why’ of their organization to make that impact on campus. Michelle explained to me how important it is to empower her employees by giving them autonomy to complete their tasks. In order for the Zone to attract students, it really starts with the people that work there; they are the face of their organization. At first, she was nervous about delegation and micromanaging, however as she learned and gained experience, she grew more confident in being a leader. Now, she trusts her employees and understands how to effectively communicate with them when problems do arise.
This really resonated with me, and my role in RUPA. When I first began as the Director of my own committee, I didn’t know the first thing of being a good leader. However, once I became more comfortable in my role, I also became more comfortable with my leadership style. I also now have more of an understanding of the importance of having all RUPA members believe in this organization, in order for us to accomplish our goal of providing Rutgers students with out of the classroom activities.
I really learned a lot from Michelle about the RutgersZone and the ways in which they can have a large impact on the community at Rutgers. Although RUPA works with them throughout the year, it was great to hear her perspective on their purpose and the way she serves as a leader on campus.