Towers Talk is a WVU podcast featuring Residence Hall Coordinators Angela Delfine-Mechler and Patrick O’Donnell. Each week, the hosts bring you an interview with different members of the WVU community to help you get adjusted to your new campus home!

This week, co-Hosts Angela Delfine and Patrick O'Donnell interview Residence Hall Association President, Zac Backus! Tune in as they talk about what RHA is doing for campus and why it’s important to get involved with Community Council. You don’t want to miss it!

Transcription: 

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Towers Talk. I'm Angela! And I’m Patrick. And this is another episode of Towers Talk. Towers Talk is brought to you by Lyon and Braxton Towers. Towers. You can live anywhere, but when you're here, you're home. Today, we have Zach Backus who is a sprint sophomore with pre-communications sciences and disorders major.

He also serves as the residence hall, the RHA president for this year. So welcome Zack. Hello, to start by telling us a little bit Zack I'm from Barboursville, West Virginia, which is down South. And I'm like you said, the residence hall association president for this school year. I am also a Senator for the College of Education and Human Services in the Student Government Association, and I'm also a night desk worker for Honors Hall. I like to stretch myself pretty thin. Also. I like to stay busy. I enjoy being able to work with like so many people who are like so devoted to helping others and improving the mat and your experience. So, wow. That was really nice.

Thank you. So, can you talk a little bit about the purpose of RHA for our listeners? Yes. So the residence hall association oversees all 12 community councils on campus. We provide resources, information and funding for all of them. Like if they have, they get a budget and if they want more than that, they come to us and they, like propose it.

And like it gets voted on. We also have programming events open for all residents on campus, as well as it leadership opportunities for those one, can they get involved right? As they get to campus. Awesome. Are you able to share a little bit about maybe some of the events that RHA helped with last year or some of the things you're thinking about doing this year?

So we want to do a lot more stuff with the region this year, just because whenever I first joined and I saw all that the region did, I was in love with it, like. So we want to have like watch parties cause they have like conferences and stuff online. And I just wanted to as more involved in the region, as well as on-campus of course some advanced in the past that RHA has done.

Um, we've done a lot with the tunnel of awareness. I love that I was a part of it with student government and I wasn't a part of it with RHA last year, but I'm excited to see how it is done this year. Now I didn't join RHA until second semester. So I wasn't able to be a part of it as much as like people before me.

So I'm excited to see what some of virtual events that we do this year, because we want to have like Jack barks nights. We have to be mostly virtual of course, due to COVID. So I'm excited to see what comes out of that residence hall. So broken lion or Brooke racks and Bennett Lyon, all of, you know, Lincoln, all the Oakland, everybody downtown, uh, we each have our own community councils, which are, you know, connected to RHA in a way.

So Zach, can you talk to us about how community council works with RHA and why community council is important? Okay. Yes, I can. So, um, during this semester, every committee, unity council meets biweekly and they formed the RHA general body. And this is used for securing additional funding. And it's also good for voting on advocacy petitions to try and improve the residence hall, which is my favorite part of RHA, because I love our residence halls, but I mean, at first there's some things that would need improved on and just being able to have a space for students to come to and talk about like, What they want to see change is like so important to me.

But community council is very important because you are the voice for your residence hall. Like those in community councils come together to plan fun programs and hosts and also advocate for like their hall or meetings. So that sounds like really beneficial putting on cool events, advocating for your community, but how, like, what does this all mean for first year students?

Like, well, how did they really benefit from joining committees? It gets you meeting a lot of people. Really soon. You meet people that are in your hall with you and you meet your RFC, which will be a great networking. Like you have to meet them. All of them are amazing here. Oh yeah. I think definitely some are better than others.

Like the Braxton and lion art say, I would say, yeah, I heard he's pretty cool. You did, to me, people all across campus, because you get to partner with so many other student hoards and so many other departments, um, and you also get to meet like a lot of RAs who will be able to help you. If you want to become an RA.

It's really good experience. Those in community council can also gain valuable leadership skills that will benefit them in the future. Whether that be for like a resident assistant position or anything else in their academic or professional career. Like if you also want to work in residence life, they're also able to network with people across the nation.

If you decide to go to like the regional and national levels and you also get to go to conferences and like Pittsburgh, And well, a lot of them are digital now, but for after COVID, they're normally like in New York, New Jersey, but there was the one in LSU. So it's a very good way. If you want to like, be able to go places.

Awesome. Thanks, Zach. That sounds so much fun. And also, you know, um, whenever this podcast, because live, we will actually be voting for community council elections. So make sure that you vote for your community council and board members within your residence halls, your artsy we'll send out an email, um, sometime the first week of September asking you to vote.

So make sure that you exercise your right to vote. It's. Exercising the right to vote is important. No matter if it's RHA elections, general elections, you can't, you can't complain if you didn't vote. Absolutely. So, Zach, can you tell us about your favorite part about being a WVU student? My favorite part about being a student here is that it's a large university with lots of resources and opportunities, but the youth.

It has a very small campus feel. My college of education is very tiny, but like, I, I'm not like confined to it. I can go, I do whatever I want. But beyond that, I just like having the opportunities to like a very large R one institution has. And I'm also from West Virginia. So it's nice that I get to stay in my home state for my college career.

Cause I love West Virginia. It's so pretty. It's so underrated. I mean, it's just, I feel like everybody should come here. It's just, it's beautiful. Totally agree. Thank you. All right, Zach. So to wrap us up, do you have any final words of wisdom for our first-year students? Yes, I do. So it is very easy to fall into a slum.

I feel like of just staying in your room, like, cause it had happened to me. Like I moved in and I didn't have many friends here, so I was like, what do I do? So I just stayed in. And it's especially going to be easier to do that this year with mostly online classes. So it's good to like, go on engage and find an old word that fits your interests.

Like throw yourself out there, get involved. If you also, you can join an intramural sport. Like my friend is a referee for them. Right. She loves seeing people that have never played these sports. Like. I attempt to like, actually be good at it. Now, when you do leave your room, please wear your mask and stays physically distant, but not socially distant, and also made sure to watch your MITs account for your amazing RHC email.

I had to get involved with your community council, made sure to watch out for the elections email, and we'll be also be posting information for our events and programming on our Instagram, which is at RHA underscore WVU. Awesome. Thanks so much sack. I totally agree. And with you, we have so many ways to stay connected, even though we can't maybe do everything in person, we're still gonna have it awesome semester.

So thank you so much for joining us today and thank you to all of our listeners, listeners for tuning in. Um, you know, Patrick and I are super sleep deprived this week. As you may notice this show, we sound a little bit more tired, but we really appreciate you joining us every week. Make sure to tune in next week, when we have an interview with another member of the WVU team.