Resident Student Association
Living and Leading on Campus
Jessica Helsel never considered herself much of a leader while in high school. That all changed as soon as she stepped on campus at Nova Southeastern University.
Within a week of moving into The Commons Residence Hall her freshman year, Helsel joined the executive board of the Resident Student Association. Now a sophomore majoring in psychology, she is the president of RSA, which plans activities for students living in the residence halls and serves as a representative for on-campus students to the Office of Residential Life and Housing.
“I wasn't really involved in high school, but the first week of school here I was on the RSA board," said Helsel. “My involvement keeps growing and growing. As you do more, you have more connection to it, so you just love it even more."
Her involvement in other extracurricular activities has grown as well. She joined the Sigma Delta Tau sorority as a freshman and now serves as its president.
Part of what put Helsel on the path towards becoming a leader on campus was simply where she lived. As a freshman, she lived on the Leadership 1 floor in The Commons, one of several theme floors in the five-story state-of-the-art residence hall that opened in 2007.
“On the leadership floor, you really get to connect with different students that are also leaders in their organizations," said Helsel. “And anytime I need any advice, whether it's for the sorority or for RSA, I can bring it up to the resident advisor and she helps me figure it out."
Theme housing such as the Leadership 1 floor clusters students with similar interests or in the same academic program on a residence hall floor together, and programming for the floor is centered on certain themes. Other theme floors in The Commons include Leadership II for upperclassman, Greek Village, Business and Entrepreneurship, Quiet Community, and Global Village. The Rolling Hills Graduate Apartments has theme floors for students studying in law, humanities and social sciences, psychology and the Health Professions Division. Overall, NSU has seven residence halls that have capacity to house nearly 1,500 students on campus.
For Helsel, the leadership responsibilities she's taken on in the residence halls and on campus have given her newfound confidence.
“Before coming to NSU, I didn't really share my opinion," said Helsel. “Now I'm doing what I really care for and I'm able voice my thoughts. I'm also making strong one-on-one connections with other students. When you have people that are passionate about the same things you are, you make a natural connection."
For more information on Residential Life and Housing, visit www.nova.edu/housing/.