The cabinet of BU’s Student Government has had the most productive year of its existence.
Warren Towers now has recycling on all floors, a single bus shuttle was replaced by a double, and student groups can hold a seat in the Student Government senate if they have strong enough ties to the undergraduate population. Just this year, the cabinet has accomplished all that and more.
And behind every one of those accomplishments is a cabinet department, all of which are directed by one person: Richa Kaul, vice president of Student Government this year and president-elect for the next.
A sophomore economics major, business minor from Westford Massachusetts, Richa speaks quickly and clearly, emanating friendly confidence.
While she’s far from intimidating, it is a tiny relief when she adds hanging out with friends and Netflix to list of the things she likes to do in her rare free time, albeit in addition to reading the Wall Street Journal.
She’s also a huge basketball fan, and on her 13th birthday, she experienced basketball’s most ambivalent honor: getting a high five from LeBron James.
“I’m not a big fan, but it’s still pretty cool. He’s kind of a big deal,” she says with a laugh.
Those cabinet initiatives also say a lot about Richa. On their own, they may be small, but taken together, they have a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of students. That focus on the simple, little pieces of student life is a big part of Richa’s philosophy on student governance.
In a way, it’s the same approach she takes to leadership. When she won the vice presidency last year, all the cabinet members she was set to direct were older than her.
“I’m a freshman and I’m about to be a director of people who are rising seniors,” she says she thought at the time. “It was very intimidating.”
Rather than going into the situation blind, she took the summer to figure out how to lead in a way that ensures respect flows both ways.
“I like to lead from within. I lead by example in terms of the fact that I just put my nose down and work,” she says she learned this year. “I found that if you do that, so many people who are working quote unquote for you just look up to you.”
Rather than exerting influence from afar, she was hands-on with the nine cabinet departments, attending as many of their meetings as she could instead of only asking for a meeting report or meeting with the department head separately.
“It lets everybody know that I want to be there. I want to be present,” she says.
They’re simple things, showing respect and working hard, but those cabinet members did the same and accomplished a lot as a result.
This year, Richa also worked to better the relationship between BU’s student government and its administration. She’s already sat down with Dean Elmore and Dean Battaligno, the Director of Student Activities, one-on-one in an attempt to rebuild the relationship with them.
In the past, that relationship has been a point of contention, and a big part of Richa’s job as president will be to act as a sort of liaison between Student Government and BU’s administration.
Her conversation with the deans resulted in the same message she gave cabinet members at this year’s cabinet retreat, which is one that, to some degree, she wants everyone to hear.
“Take everything that you know about Student Gov and throw it out the window,” she says she said to the deans and the cabinet. “We’re starting fresh.”
Written by Jake Lucas