While many first-year students were continuing to settle into college this October, freshman
Kieran O’Connor proved herself as a dedicated campus leader at the University of
Maryland. As Vice President of Community Development for the Residence Hall
Association’s (RHA) Denton Hall Council and a TerpThon planning team member, Kieran
went above and beyond the duties outlined in her position descriptions. |
Vice Presidents of Community Development are expected to oversee the planning and
execution of council events, as well as submit materials for Hall of the Semester (HOTS), a
competition to encourage councils to program and participate in RHA as a whole. The
competition prompts councils to submit materials like event photos and OTMs.
As RHA’s Chief Information Officer, I aid the Vice Presidents of Community Development in
their roles and facilitate the HOTS competition, so I have seen Kieran’s diligence and
determination first-hand. She was instrumental in the planning of an array of events in
October and submitted all HOTS materials possible to bring her council to the top of the
The Denton Hall Council held five events during October: mental health awareness candy
grams on Oct. 5, a meet-the-council event on Oct. 8, karaoke on Oct. 26, a breakfast for
breast cancer awareness on Oct. 29 and a "haunted hallways" door-decorating contest that
ran for two weeks and ended on Oct. 31. This diverse mix of both active and passive events
brought awareness to an important causes or allowed for socialization.
Kieran proved herself as an event-planning extraordinaire during October, despite her short
time in RHA so far. She also expressed an enthusiasm for her position and a desire to build
a strong community within Denton Hall when reflecting on events in post-event forms and
emailing me photos from each event.
On Oct. 26, Kieran sent me a video from Denton Hall Council’s karaoke event in which
attendees are swaying back and forth, arms around each other, all singing Miley Cyrus’
song “The Climb.” This video is tangible proof of the community Kieran and her council
have helped to foster within their residence hall already.
During the month of October, Kieran also showed a vested interest in RHA at large through
her involvement at various events. She attended Executive Board office hours for our
National Communications Coordinator on Oct. 20, sat in on an RHA Senate meeting on Oct.
24 and volunteered at TerpUp for Game Day, a non-alcoholic tailgate RHA sponsors before
football games, on Oct. 28.
Kieran’s commitment to RHA was more than evident during October, and she also proved
her allegiance to another important campus organization: TerpThon. This dance marathon
takes place each spring to raise money for Children’s National Hospital in D.C. Kieran took
to Facebook during October to inform her friends about the $1,000-goal she hopes to meet
by March and said she and her roommate will be taped to their hallway for 30 minutes after
every $50 they raise. Much like her advocacy programming skills, Kieran once again proved
her ability to be innovative and creative for a good cause.
These impressive qualities of Kieran’s have not gone unnoticed by those around her, and
she was recognized with two awards in October. She was named RHA’s inaugural “Member
Monday” on Oct. 9 for going beyond her call of duty on Denton Hall Council and the
National Residence Hall Honorary’s (NRHH) September “Silver Tongue” for her high-quality
OTMs at an Oct. 30 meeting – the first time it has been awarded to a non-NRHH member.
I firmly believe “First Year Student of the Month” for October should be added to Kieran’s
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