Residential Student Government is one of the core organizations at USC. A branch under ResEd, RSG governs and supervises RAs, planning events and enhancing the on-campus residential community — but none of this would be possible without the dedication of current RSG President Sera Choi.
Just last month, Choi was awarded President of the Year at a National Residence Hall conference for RSG, beating out schools all over the West coast. The conference, held at the University of La Verne, was rigorous, with hours of delegation and presentations on which school should win each of the several awards, including community of the year, school of the year and a collection of others.
Over the course of the semester, Choi has spearheaded sweeping changes in the structure of USC’s residential governing body, and it was her commitment to the program that made her stand out as a top candidate for the award.
“We really stepped it up this year in regards to representing students better,” Choi said.
To Choi, “stepping up” is nothing new. In addition to being the president of RSG, she also has a heavy extracurricular workload.
“I try to make time for other extracurricular activities like [the pre-med honor society] Alpha Epsilon Delta, clinical care externship and JEP,” Choi said. “I am also a research assistant in a neurogenetic lab at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.”
Choi’s high school career was similarly busy, which led her right into RSG upon arrival at USC.
“I devoted most of my time to extracurricular activities that were either pre-med or service related,” Choi said. “Student government is something I have wanted to do since my sophomore year of high school, so I gave it my all once I got a chance in college.”
This is Choi’s third year in RSG, and she has been heavily involved in student government since first stepping on campus. Her freshman year, Choi ran and was successfully elected as the funding chair of Trojan Hall.
“I walked on campus and two weeks later I had a leadership position,” Choi said.
From there, she worked her way up through the ranks until she was elected president her junior year.
“She rebuilt the organization of the student government and made events like the highlighter dance a huge success,” said fellow RSG member Cooper Surrett of Choi.
If re-elected her senior year, Choi has already planned further beneficial changes, one of them being to unite the campus’ residence halls.
“I want to engage more of the residence hall governments to unify the school,” Choi said. “I want to take USC’s Residential Student Government to the national conference and bring back another School of the Year.”
Choi, along with three other USC RSG representatives, attended the conference unsure of the outcome. The RSG president noted that though USC seemed to be a favorite in the contest, there was tough competition and an intense voting process that put stress on the three representatives.
“During boardroom, we would meet three times a day for around six hours each time,” Choi said.
For individual awards, a member of the student’s governing body had to submit a proposal detailing why the candidate was the best choice. Michael Tong, the National Residence Hall Honorary president, took up the task.
Tong stressed Choi’s merits, and how she delved into her position as president from the beginning.
“Sera Choi moved to L.A. in the summer and met with ResEd weekly to set up the organization before school started,” Tong said. “I knew right away she was going to kill it.”
At the end of the conference, an awards banquet was thrown to announce the winners, and though the entire team was excited to win School of the Year, Choi was even more excited as she was able to see her work truly pay off.
“We used to win awards years ago, but we hadn’t been recognized in a while. It feels good to put USC back on the radar,” Choi said.