Chinese Student and Scholar Association
Leadership 2021-2022

I ran co-president at the Chinese Student and Scholar Association at the Rhode Island School of Design after the pandemic. After almost a year of silence, I reformed the executive team, re-designed the structure, workflow and mission to re-activate the community and bring innovation to the club.

Community Engagement
June 2021 - June 2022
(12 months)

What is the CSSA?

The CSSA is a cultural affinity group aimed to connect the Chinese students and those interested in the Chinese culture together to have fun, form networks, and inspire each other. 20% of RISD’s student demographic is of an Asian background.

Contributions & Achievements of 2021-2022

Member growth
5 -> 80+ members

Restructured workflow
& departments

Most active year:
Most events and participation

Highlights of 2021-2022

  • Average 50+ participation
  • Diverse themes: networking, community-building, celebration
  • Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen
  • Average 25+ participation
  • New-student orientation guidebook (average 1000+ views)
  • Collaboration with CSSAs from RISD, Brown University, Johnson and Wales University and University of Rhode Island CSSA
  • Accumulative 1600+ views from online streaming
  • 20+ performances ranging from singing, dancing and cross-talk
  • Podcast
       -> Created 11 podcast episodes of department introduction for incoming students on the WeChat platform, averaging 300+ views
       -> Later evolved into an individual podcast program <Meet Me Afterschool>
  • International student handbook
       -> Created 12+ series of student handbooks coverng topics including living, housing, academics and departments
  • Long-lasting impact
       -> Both podcast & handbooks are commonly requested by Chinese international students
"The student handbooks really helped me during my application process; I revisited them multiple times and really prepared me for moving into RISD."

Re-evaluating the value of a cultural club

  • What could our impact be?
  • What is the nature of a cultural club?
  • What events should we plan this year?
  • Using the recruiting process as a feedback session
  • Surveyed 80+ interested members
  • Interviewed 30+ potential student leaders

interview notes & insights created by the executive team

Insight 1: CSSA is a platform for collaboration experience

A lot of first year students join the CSSA. They often don’t have a lot of planning experience.

Insight 2: three Values of the CSSA

Networking & socializing

Cultural celebration &
sense of belonging

Having fun during the busy semester

e.g. new student meet-up

e.g. lunar new year celebration

e.g. basketball tournament

CSSA as an ‘idea incubator’

  • Project ownership
  • Collaboration experience
  • Event Diversity

Students can propose project ideas that fit with the club’s values and find peers with similar-interests

CSSA internal project recruiting billboardduring the October monthly meeting

Provide event-planning templates to support student leaders

Create supportive execution teams (graphics team, events team, marketing team) for smooth execution

Student-run podcast team to generate conversations around academic concerns & future career choices as Chinese international students

How can we do better next year?

Focus group interviews with student leaders, club members and participants

Event participation required too much time, could we design more casual events?”

“More kick-off events during the beginning of the year, when everyone’s still free”

More collaboration with Brown University”


backgroundhighlights of 2021challengessolutionreflection

Create a ‘Career Development’ department

Seasonly meeting with the outreach team from Brown CSSA

Expand to more internationally-facing platforms like Instagram

Plan more low-threshold events for easier participation

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