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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student leader Romero ’17 hones skills over summer

Published: August 22, 2014
Section: Features

Of the limitless summer opportunities available to college students throughout the country, Christian Romero ’17 decided to spend his time honing his ability to lead within Brandeis’ own Student Events group.

Romero first became involved with Student Events spring semester of the 2013-14 year, in the position of a social department coordinator. In this position he, alongside his other department members, largely focused on the planning of Brandeis’ Bronstein Week while additionally helping other departments organize their events. He reported to The Hoot that he learned a lot from this experience, as each of his colleagues already had abundant experience and were able to provide creative ideas whenever necessary.

While Romero stated that his past position could be stressful at times, as his first year came to a close, his care and commitment for the group led him to apply for a director position in Student Events. After an application process, this academic year Romero has been chosen to serve as finance director of the organization.

In this position, Romero states he is now “overseeing the budget of the organization, making sure everyone in Student Events is letting you know what and where they’re spending the money on, while additionally working with the administration to help fund various events.”

While the Student Union is generally a separate group from Student Events, Romero said that in his position he will have to “work a lot with the Student Union because they’re also responsible for the distribution of money to clubs/organizations on campus.” He previously shared responsibilities with other department members, but Romero will now be acting in a more “solitary position” as he is the only member of the finance department. However, he will still be helping to run the many events that Student Events holds each semester.

Romero’s decision to incorporate Student Events in his summer plans only began after he had been appointed into his new role for the 2014-15 year. “I had recently found out that I had become Finance Director in April, and then afterward my boss, Steve Pagios, mentioned that Student Events would be sending two students to different conferences held by NACA (National Association for Campus Activities),” he said. These annual conferences provide seminars for college students who hold leadership roles. They aid in helping students learn how to become better leaders, event programmers and overall team players.

After a successful application process, Romero later discovered that Student Events had selected him to attend a conference at Washington University in St. Louis. “Steve told me that it was because it was my first time being a director of an organization in college and that it would be helpful to get some tips before I stepped into my position,” Romero said.
This particular conference lasted four days and was divided into information sessions led by NACA representatives. The conference focused on teaching various skills, such as recognizing and maximizing the potential of different group members, effectively managing and utilizing budgets and efficiently marketing events.

Toward the end of the conference, Romero and his peers were given the opportunity to put their new skills to the test. The students gathered in groups of 10 and were given a budget of $500. Each group had to work together to create an idea, and subsequently plan and carry out an event.

“My group eventually landed on holding what we called the Neon Games. Similar to the Hunger Games, which inspired us, we tested the physical strength and mental ability, through fun games, of those who attended our event. Then, at the end, we had a big party and gave out neon attire and accessories,” Romero said.

Romero said this was one of his favorite experiences. “We were able to gain the perspectives of the students going to the events and the ones who were planning them, as well. In the end, it was very informative and helpful as we were able to not only receive constructive criticism, but give it out, as well,” he said.

Looking back on his time at the conference while preparing for his position this upcoming school year, Romero believes “that [the conference] really helped me learn how to make the most out of my position and make sure that other people are feeling like they are as well.” He is positive that “everything I learned this year will improve Student Events overall.”

To all aspiring leaders on campus, the biggest piece of advice that Romero provided was this: “Be confident in yourself and believe in what you have to say.”