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RHA Mimics New York City Street In O’Neill Plaza

For The Heights

Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01


Eun Hee Kwon / Heights Staff

Despite the morning drizzle, a festive atmosphere pervaded O’Neill Plaza on Friday as the Residence Hall Association (RHA) kicked off its first event of the year. Called “BC Street,” the event aimed to promote RHA within the Boston College community and provide a forum for BC’s many performance groups.

For Nate Schlein, RHA vice president and A&S ’14, the planning for BC Street started over the summer. Inspired by the culture of street musicians in New York City, as well as the recent renovation of O’Neill Plaza, he and co-vice president Tony Kim, A&S ’14, began contacting potential performers over the summer in the hope of creating a similar environment on the BC campus.

Although RHA hired four dance groups, three comedians, and a caricature artist, all other featured groups were from BC, including dance groups Fuego del Corazon, F.I.S.T.S., Synergy, Conspiracy Theory; a capella groups the Heightsmen, the Acoustics, and BC Sharps; musical acts Jammin’ Toast, BC bOp!, the Music Guild, and the Boston College Drumline, among others. “We wanted to get as many people involved as possible,” Schlein said. “There are opportunities to see these talents, but not in one venue. In O’Neill [Plaza], people have the chance to see everything, and it’s a great opportunity for BC to showcase its talent.”

In addition to performance groups, RHA sought to get many of BC’s students involved as well. Since September, their 10-person student programming council has worked to promote the program, giving the event its own Twitter hashtag #packtheplaza, and drawing students in with street signs evocative of a city festival, made by Catherine Daigle, head of communications for RHA and A&S ’14. Furthermore, they planned the event based on hours of peak traffic in O’Neill Plaza, so that the performers would have a constant audience.

BC Street offered an incentive to stay for the whole performance as well. In a nod to street musicians, the performance groups came equipped with a hat or another container, but rather than soliciting change, they encouraged those who enjoyed the performance to deposit raffle tickets available at the event. At the end of the 15-minute performance, the performers would select a ticket, and the lucky winner received a gift card to Target.

For RHA, BC Street proved an invaluable opportunity to promote the organization. According to Schlein, “RHA as an organization is known and respected, but I think we can take it to the next level and really make a name for ourselves.”

He hopes that this event in particular, one of the higher-budgeted in the RHA calendar this year, could further that name recognition. “It’s different—it’s never been done before,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to do with my position [as vice president], do innovative things that people haven’t seen before.”

He added, “As I tell the people on my council, there’s no such thing as an idea that’s too big.”

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