Picture this: you are the Hall Council President of your residence hall, you are on Housing and Dining’s A-Team, you are an AU Ambassador, a member of AU in Motion, and a brother in Phi Sigma Pi. Sounds like a lot right? Now add in an internship on Capitol Hill. Starting to sweat? Just to top it off, picture yourself a freshman. This is the life a Bianca Falconi, a first-year freshman at AU from Peabody, Massachusetts. Bianca is a double major in Political Science and Public Communiations in the School of Public Affairs. On top of all these activities, Bianca still has time to go to class, do her homework and hang out with her friends. Her Campus American asked her just how she juggles it all and what inspired her to be so proactive.
Why did you choose AU for college?
I chose American University for a few reasons. I love that AU is in a city but has a campus, allowing me to have the best of both worlds. I also knew that for my political science degree, D.C. was the place to be to get the most fulfilling experiences. I loved the fact that I could intern during the school year, rather than have to come down here for the summers
What clubs or organizations are you involved in?
I am the Residence Hall Association, Hall Council President for Anderson. I was just recently accepted to Housing and Dining’s A-Team, or Advance Team, for the Leadership Academy in Residential Education, a program that will start up in the fall semester. I am also an AU Ambassador, and I dance with AU in Motion. In addition to that, I just accepted my bid to Phi Sigma Pi, which is the National Honor’s Fraternity.
What led you to run for Anderson Hall Council President?
RHA was the first program that I joined here at AU. My RA really encouraged me to run for the election, and I had been heavily involved in student government in high school, so I figured RHA would be a good fit for me. However, at first I was skeptical because I wasn’t sure that taking on a commitment like Hall Council President was something that I was really looking for in my first semester here at AU. I really thought that I should focus on my academics before I started getting involved. In fact, I was so worried that I attempted to pull myself out of the election. However, after some persuading, I kept my name on the ballot and went on to win. I am so happy that I followed through with it, because it has given me the chance to interact with the residents, Housing and Dining staff, and the rest of the Residence Hall Association.
What are your responsibilities as President?
As President I oversee the operations of the rest of the Hall Council, which includes monitoring our budget, advocating for residents, and throwing some really cool events and fundraisers for different causes. I chair a weekly meeting with Anderson’s Hall Council, as well as the RA’s and residents of Anderson. I also sit in on a weekly roundtable meeting with the other hall’s presidents, and the president of the whole organization. My duties also include reporting weekly to our Housing and Dining staff advisor. As Hall Council, we also attend weekly General Assembly meetings where the whole Residence Hall Association comes together to update each other and vote on official business. Besides all of the meetings, I maintain relationships with the Resident Assistants of our hall, as well as interact with the residents.
What has been the most challenging part of your job?
I guess I would say is that the most challenging part of my job is making sure that the hall council is operating smoothly and that the residents are constantly our number one priority. Having the largest hall, many things come up that make operating efficiently difficult and, as President, everyone turns to me for the answers. I have definitely had to adjust the way I lead because I have learned over the course of the year what works and what doesn’t work. At the beginning of the year, it was really hard for me to handle the different personalities on my hall council, and the many residents that live in Anderson, but through trial and error I have become a better leader, and we have become a better hall council because of it.
What is your internship on Capitol Hill?
I am an intern in Congressman Stephen Lynch’s Office, the representative from Massachusetts’ 8TH congressional district. For the most part I answer the phones, open and respond to constituent mail, attend briefings and hearings, lead tours of the Capitol building, and research different things for the legislative assistant’s in the office.
Have you met any famous/well-known public figures at your internship?
The congressman I work for just announced that he was running for John Kerry’s Senate seat in Massachusetts, and he is the Assistant Minority Whip so I guess some people might say he is a well-known figure. As for really famous public figures, I walked next to Paul Ryan in the hallway and literally almost bumped into John McCain. I haven’t seen any well-known Democrats in the halls yet; I seem to only find Republicans with failed presidential runs.
What are your plans for the future?
I always had this master plan of becoming a lawyer before I got to college, however now I realize that there are so many other jobs that I am interested in. I am not completely writing off becoming a lawyer, but I no longer have my mind set on any one thing. I added a communications major because I think it may be fun to be a press secretary or do something like that, or maybe I will end up attending law school, or maybe even running for office. There are so many things that I find interesting, and I am so thankful that I go to a school where I have so many opportunities!
What is your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the quad, especially when the weather is nice. It is a reminder of why I chose a school with a campus like AU’s and there is always something going on out there.
What is your favorite spot in DC?
My favorite spot in DC is probably the Lincoln Memorial. I love just sitting on the steps and looking over at the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building in the distance.
What advice would you give other students seeking leadership roles?
My advice would be to try everything! Give every organization you have a slight interest in a try, and see which ones really are a good fit for you. I would also say get involved as much as possible, even though I have a pretty hectic schedule, I don’t regret taking on all the responsibilities because it has made my time here at AU worth it. Getting involved on campus will allow you to find something that you are interested in, meet really cool people, and just overall make the most out of the time you have here.