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.
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.
5 -> 80+ members
Most active year:
Most events and participation
"The student handbooks really helped me during my application process; I revisited them multiple times and really prepared me for moving into RISD."
interview notes & insights created by the executive team
A lot of first year students join the CSSA. They often don’t have a lot of planning experience.
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
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
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”
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