An update from Meaghan, a member of the Residential Commons Leadership Corps and a second-year student triple majoring in Environmental Science with an Earth Science emphasis, Geology, and Chemistry, while triple minoring in Math, English, and Environmental Engineering.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
For a first year coming to a new school, leaving home for the first time without knowing anyone at school, a new school can be terrifying. For me, the first few months were no different.
My roommate last year already had her niche when she came to SMU, fitting in with her friend-group from high school. I, however, didn’t have that base. Like many other first-years, I had to seek-out a home for myself, the place where my passions would intersect with those of others to create a place where I felt – finally – at home. Luckily, I found the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives fairly quickly and was able to settle into that family. But for others, it can be difficult to find the place where you fit in, where you’re accepted and appreciated, and I know had it not been for the friends I made within my residence hall and in the Women’s Center I would have been lost those two months.
What truly made me want to join the Residential Commons Leadership Corps and assist in the creation of the Residential Commons Tradition was an unfortunate confrontation between another resident in my hall last year and myself. This student told me on two separate occasions that I did not belong at SMU and that I should transfer, just because I did not fit into their idea of what a woman at SMU should do/say/look like. While this moment did affect me, it drove me to want better for incoming students. I was able to go to my home in the Women’s Center and find strength to make a difference, and that is why I joined the RCLC. My motto is that if I can change the residential experience for one student, and save them from experiencing what I went through, then I have done my job. If I have created a niche where students are accepted and appreciated for who they are as an individual, and valued for each way they differ from the rest of the community, then I have succeeded.
I am one of the Residential Commons Leadership Corps Representative for the new trio that is Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles and I have already begun to settle into my home there. I’ve been bonding with the current residents and RAs of Mary Hay and Peyton to get a sense of the residential community and things that current students would like to see implemented next year. I’ve had an amazing time getting to know everyone in these communities, and have been lucky to have won an OTM for my work with my Residential Commons in August. Ty, the current RCD for Mary Hay and Peyton nominated me for an Of The Month (OTM), which is a competition within the residential communities, and I was fortunate to win on the campus and regional levels. Working with my RC has been such a rewarding experience, and I am so lucky to be working with talented and hard working and passionate people.
The RCLC is not only a leadership role, it is a community building role. It is a way for me to build a community within my Residential Commons Leadership Team and in my Residential Commons itself. In the RCLC we are a family, and to quote Lilo and Stitch, “Family means no one is left behind. Or forgotten”