Candidate Profiles: Team RAD hopes to boost COMPSA engagement

Executive candidates campaign using memes

RAD talks ways to facilitate better communications within computing student body.

This year, the Computing Students’ Association (COMPSA) sees one team running for executive.

Team RAD, comprised of Presidential candidate Jagrit Rai, Vice-Presidential (Student Affairs) candidate Catie Austin, and Vice-Presidential (Operations) candidate Mercy Doan, all Compsa ’24, discussed their goals for the 2022-23 school year.

The team’s two main platform points are to improve student engagement and facilitate communication.

“I felt like computing didn’t really have the biggest culture,” Rai said in an interview with The Journal.

After seeing the student experiences faculties like Commerce and Engineering had to offer, Rai decided he wanted to improve the faculty’s engagement.

According to Rai, COMPSA currently facilitates many of its activities through monetary incentives such as gift cards.

“A lot of the events I want to run, they’re more like experiences, I was thinking […] fun stuff that you’ll feel like you’re missing out on [if you don’t participate].”

Doan added since most students have been attending school from home, Team RAD will provide more opportunities for students to socialize—one initiative would target incoming first-years and allow them to receive guidance from second- or third-year students.

Team RAD also hopes to improve communication between the COMPSA executive and the student body.

“Something that I want to do is make sure people are open to coming to me for any suggestions,” Doan said.

Currently, Doan is active in Class of 2024 and Class of 2025 group chats, which she says helps her gain insight into what students need.

“I want to be able to reflect those changes next year.”

Austin plans to reconnect students in person.

“[We’re] trying to bring back to that in-person feeling […] and get back into the flow of things to put together an experience, whether it be hybrid or in-person going forward,” Austin said.

Additionally, Team RAD hopes to advocate for computing students academically.

“A lot of computer science professors are a little disorganized,” Rai said. “There are a lot of complaints about some of our professors.”

One of COMPSA's responsibilities is holding trial runs and Q&A sessions with new professors. Rai said the team will communicate with professors diligently to better advocate for students.

When asked what other ways the team plans to reach out to the computing student body, Rai noted that so far, Team RAD has campaigned with a meme-based platform to garner more attention.

“Professional-looking campaign ideas are forgettable,” Rai said. “The campaign ads that we’ve been running—people remember that a lot—it’s a shock factor.”

Doan hopes when they see the memes, more students will be inclined to reach out without feeling intimidated.

“What we’re trying to do with this meme account, it’s half-serious, but it also shows that we are just down-to-earth people and if anyone needs any support they can reach out to us,” Doan said.

“We want to do our best to listen to the computing student body, and one way to make sure that we’re doing that is just being accessible and welcoming.”

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