What RIT Student Government Global Consortium meant to me

by
Una Pašić, Vice President of the Student Government Zagreb Campus


When I was a high school student considering all my possible options for further education I never thought I would be able to experience something along the lines of this RIT Student Government Global Consortium. When I joined the RIT family as a freshmen over a year ago I never imagined all the amazing possibilities that would be handed to me on a day to day basis. The one thing that definitely made and impact and changed my student life for the better was joining the Student Government and being able to actively participate in the creation of a better student experience all around. Though this, as any other job, has its hardships, events like this RIT Student Government Global Consortium make everything worthwhile. In order to explain what this event is all about, I will digress slightly into the origin of the word "Consortium". Coming from Latin, this word means partnership and sharing and taking the whole experience into account I can say this is exactly what it was! I am finding it really hard to find the words to express how amazingly productive and emotionally riveting these couple of days were but I promise to do my best to explain the point of this event, what we managed to do and how it benefited each and every one of us. Being an RIT Tiger doesn't only mean being part of one campus, it means being this big family that spreads across the globe, from Dubrovnik to New York then to Dubai and Zagreb. We are all connected, sharing common goals, worries, aspirations and expectations. This is where the Consortium comes in as the best happening we've ever had the pleasure to experience. The idea is to bring representatives from each of our respected campuses to one location for meetings, presentations and bringing out large family even closer together. Every year the location is a different RIT campus and as Dubai had the honors in 2014, this was the year we in Zagreb had to prove ourselves as hosts. Since we are the youngest of all campuses and this being our first time to host the Consortium I as the head of Zagreb really wanted to make a good impression especially since Dubrovnik did an amazing job in previous years (oh and also a great factor for me is that this year's SG Croatia president is Mirna Sorajić from Dubrovnik so I have to make my boss proud :P ). The actual event lasted for three days starting off with a casual but delicious dinner so all of us could get to know each other and break the ice which isn't an easy job with 3 representatives from Dubai, 3 from New York, 5 from Dubrovnik and 5 from Zagreb (shout out to all my buddies!) . After about 5 minutes of the regular awkward silence where everybody kind of gawks at each other with a silly grin on their face, we slowly started talking and BAM! - it was like we've been friends since kindergarten. However no matter how casual the first day was the following morning started out much more serious, business-like and academic. We started off really early in the morning with heartwarming speeches from our Dean, Don Hudspeth, Dr. Watters and the associates accompanying the Consortium as a whole. Afterwards we had a quick coffee while giving our guests a tour of our new Zagreb facilities then proceeded to have our meetings. Our meetings consisted of an amazing presentation by Dawn Meza Soufleris, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Residential Education & Community Standards at RIT New York (just one of the amazing people this kind of event allows you to meet). The presentation was focused on the generation of Millennial (in short the generation of almost all high-schoolers and students) she explained to us how we function, why do we think the way we do, how different we are from previous generations and even the differences between Millennial throughout the globe. I personally can say this was one of the most interesting presentations I have had to pleasure of listening to throughout my life in education and I could see that most of my peers thought the same. Afterwards we went straight down to business and for days we presented our SG's to each other, explaining everything from our structure, our bylaws, our projects and our events. This needed to be done in order to gain a better understanding about how each campus works, how we can help each other and what we can change. We stressed the idea of all campuses becoming one so that is our main focus at the time, creating a logo for the global campuses, an annual global event and implementing various ideas from each campus that can be utilized to make a better student life for everyone. One idea Croatian students particularly loved was Dubai's idea of stress relievers in the time of final exams (if I had free coffee and donuts in finals week I would probably have gained about 5 kg but never mind :P ). RIT Henrietta (New York) completely blew our minds with the amount of students they oversee, their SG structure and the ingenuity of their plans. They presented these amazing new websites and apps we could use to connect the campuses even better so that is another focus we are working on at the moment. I have to say I am proud of Croatia as a whole since all of our guests were amazed by how cohesively we work as a group seeing that we are two campuses (Dubrovnik and Zagreb) and were also pleasantly surprised regarding the amount of events we put on for our students (especially volunteer events) and our high success rate. I think that this was a once in a life time opportunity and a real eye opener to see how much we differ regarding culture and our views about how things work but also how closely we are connected with our common goal- keeping our RIT family close and happy. Meeting these amazingly inspirational people has given us all ideas on how to improve our individual SG's in order to make our students happier and in turn to make RIT even better than it already is. I would also like to point out the really great event we had the satisfaction of attending was the Alumni dinner where we had the incredible opportunity to meet all of these really successful people that used to be RIT students and are still proud to be part of the RIT family. Hearing their stories about how our college used to be like and the way they think about it fondly just makes us even more proud to call ourselves RIT tigers. Not to mention the chance to network with people working in the lines of business you are hoping to work in but also getting interview options and co-op offers with the same. The last day we made sure that our friends ( I can no longer say guests since they have grown so close to my heart even friends seems too much of a casual term) have such a good time that will make them remember Zagreb forever! I can tell you one thing though, they can dance, and I mean dance like crazy! It was so much fun that when it came to an end it took us literally 30 minutes to say goodbye to each other and I am being absolutely serious about this. There were group hugs, individual hugs, speeches and even tears (yes that might have just been a couple of us but we are emotional people!). It is so hard to imagine that after just three days of conversing we have all grown so close and I know that these are friends that will last me a life time (writing all of this is actually making me miss them like crazy). This specifically is why I am so grateful to RIT for helping me grow each day as a student, as a leader, and as a person. This is why I am proud to be an RIT tiger and proud to be part of this family that always has my back.

 

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