Student Life

Community Via Cupcakes: Brookdale’s Most Attended RA Event

While many students are happy to keep to themselves while living in Brookdale Campus, Hunter College’s main dormitory, two resident assistants wanted to shake things up.

Aysha Khan and Anaya Huggins, both resident assistants, hosted a cupcake decorating event in the dormitory cafeteria on March 13th. Because students have busy schedules and only single rooms are offered at the dorms, RAs have had difficulty fostering a sense of community on the campus and usually do not get more than 10 attendees per event. But Brookdale residents recetnly flocked to the cafeteria to get a chance to decorate their own sweet treats.

Decorating materials and cupcakes made by students at the event.
Photo by Sanjana Ahmed

“Our goal with the event was really just to bring students together,” said Khan. “I think after COVID, students have a desire to interact with each other but it’s hard to find places to do that.”

Every RA at the Brookdale campus is required to host one virtual and one in-person event per semester. The two co-RAs are no strangers to great turnouts as the previous semester their sushi-making event had over 25 residents in attendance, which was the highest turnout of the year at the time. But with 84 residents attending the cupcake decorating event, Residence Life Representative Amanda Torres said she was pleased that the Cupcake Decorating event has had the biggest turnout.

“It’s such a shock to see so many residents together like this at Brookdale,” said Junior Mary Chong. “This is really one of the only events held here that I actually felt did something to build community.”

The prep for the event took the entire day. Huggins said she went from store to store looking for boxed mixes and other ingredients needed for the 120 cupcakes they baked that night. The two RAs paid out of pocket for the supplies, but we assisted by other RAs during the baking process and event.

RAs hosting the event, Aysha Khan and Anaya Huggins.
Photo by Sanjana Ahmed

“It’s a cost we’re willing to take on,” said Khan.

The whole event was inspired by Huggins’ love for baking, which she got from her uncle who taught her everything she knows about the craft. She said the experience was “a little overwhelming because I didn’t expect this many people to come.”

However, Huggins said it was all worth it, as she developed deeper bonds with the many other RAs who stepped in to help her and Khan.

Once the event was in full swing, residents and RAs mingled as they grabbed supplies to make their decorative frostings and other edible adornments such as mini Oreos, sprinkles, and powdered sugar.

“[The concept] is simplistic and fun and you get to do it with your friends,” said Sophomore Kai Barbee while whipping up frosting. “And we do need three meals a day, so that sells anybody.”

Resident holding up a cupcake she decorated during the event.
Photo by Sanjana Ahmed

Barbee, who uses the pronouns they/them, said that they were attracted to the event not only due to the promotional flyers and emails, but also because they kept hearing about it through word of mouth. They were also were interested in any creative concept that they could do while mingling with other residents.

While Khan is a senior and will not be able to be an RA again, Huggins is a sophomore and plans to apply for the position again. Another future event she hopes to host is an ice cream sundae-making event where residents can learn about the history of the snack while eating the desserts.

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