Samantha Briggs will serve as the next University of Maryland RHA president after being elected earlier this month, according to the organization’s current leadership.

Briggs currently serves as the chief of internal affairs for the organization. She ran unopposed in the presidential race and was elected on April 9 alongside the incoming vice president Michelle Ameyaw. They will officially start in their positions May 8, Briggs said.

The junior government and politics major said she decided to run for president because she’s passionate about supporting students and improving their college experience.

“I enjoy advocating for student voices and helping them to be heard and then addressing key issues that impact students on our campus,” Briggs said.

The president’s responsibilities include overseeing the executive team, coordinating with council presidents, serving on various committees and acting as an advocate for students who live on campus, outgoing Residence Hall Association president Erika Holdren said.

Briggs joined RHA in her freshman year, starting as the vice president of sustainability for Hagerstown Hall. She has also served as the chair of the sustainability committee and the sustainability coordinator before her current position, Briggs said.

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Holdren, a junior government and politics major, said Briggs’ time as chief of internal affairs gave her management skills that will help her as president.

“She learned how to help manage the team and be concise in meetings and make sure that everyone is being heard,” Holdren said. “That’s definitely transferable to a larger scale.”

In her freshman year, Briggs started the adopt a garden initiative in which the sustainability committee worked with this university’s arboretum to help them clean up and mulch the trees on McKeldin Mall.

Briggs said she is “really thankful” to serve as the next president and hopes to create a collaborative environment where she can delegate new initiatives and support the senators.

Ameyaw, a sophomore biology major, said she’s excited to serve as the next vice president and work alongside Briggs after finishing up her current role as senator-at-large. Ameyaw said she also ran unopposed in the election.

Ameyaw said she is also excited to work closely with Briggs, whom she considers a friend.

“We both have similar visions for RHA,” Ameyaw said. “Both of our values are increasing connection and empowering future student leaders, so I think that will work well together.”

In the coming year, the pair said they plan to prioritize connection among students and rising levels of food insecurity.

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“We have a huge problem with loneliness and finding a sense of community and belonging,” Briggs said. “I want to make it a top priority to combat this issue.”

Briggs also hopes to increase food waste education and work on composting initiatives. She said she plans to focus on connecting community members with resources such as the campus pantry and Terp to Terp, the campus reuse store, where students can find essential living items.

Outside RHA, Briggs serves as the sustainability director for the Student Government Association and is a manager for Terp to Terp — both of which she thinks have given her the necessary skills to be a good student leader, she said.

Holdren said she is happy with the group’s new leadership, even though retiring from the role is “bittersweet.”

“RHA is in amazing hands,” Holdren said. “I’ve seen them grow as leaders this year, and I have full confidence that they’re going to lead RHA in the right direction next year.”