Lindsay Hayes hears the question, “So what exactly do you do?” at least twice a day. Hayes is one of the four Community Life Coordinators (CLCs) filling a new position this year. The CLCs are part of the reorganization of the old House President system. They work with the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL), the Housing Coordinators (HC), and the Campus Life Team, which consists of Jean Thorndike, directory of Security; Norma Lopez, assistant dean of the College; Donna Denelli-Hess, director of Health Education; and Rich Kelley, director of Student Activities.
Because both the CLCs and the HCs are new this year, most students are unaware of their various jobs. HCs are students in each house who help organize a variety of events for their houses. The CLCs are assigned to geographical areas of campus and meet with the HCs in their area, as well as taking responsibility for another aspect of campus life.
Hayes oversees Area I, which consists of Mission Park and Tyler Annex, and helps with community service through the Chaplain’s office. Tanesha Leathers ’00 oversees Area II, the Row Houses. She also coordinates intramurals and advises the Goodrich Coffeebar. Nathaniel Gill takes care of Greylock Quad, Area III, as well as helping with club sports and All Campus Entertainment (ACE). Brian Schwartz deals with the Dodd and Odd Quads and works at the Multicultural Center.
The CLCs are still forming their position at the College. “Much of our job at present is establishing what we are in the Williams community,” Hayes said. They do administrative and organizational work, but they are also potential friends and advisors for students.
Schwartz said that he applied for and accepted the position because he liked the job description: “Primary focus will be to help develop and build a greater sense of community on the campus and improve residential life by providing counseling and mediation for a self-governing student body.”
He said he urges students to talk to him about anything. “Earning someone’s trust is the key. Few people will trust me because I’m a CLC, but when students get to know me, I hope they trust me because I’m Brian,” Schwartz said.
“Please look at me as a listening ear, and another person that cares about the students and their holistic development during their time at Williams,” Leathers said. “If you are having a roommate problem, please come talk to me. If you are homesick, come talk to me. . . I am also someone that has lived outside the Purple Bubble and I have other perspectives to offer.”
If students have a problem relating to their house or want to help organize a house event, they should talk to their HC or their Area CLC. If, however, they simply want to chat, any of the CLCs, whose office is in the second floor of the Log, are ready and willing to listen. Or if students want to get involved with various activities at the College but are unsure how to proceed, the CLCs can help direct them to the many resources that Williams has to offer. “If you want to get involved in activities we have a hand in, by all means, drop us an e-mail. We thrive off student participation and input,” Leathers said.
Coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, all the CLCs have exciting goals for the program. “I enjoy supporting students through the rigor of a Williams education and helping them grapple with the arena in which the majority of my learning took place in college â€” beyond the classroom,” Schwartz said, giving one of the top reasons he loves the job.
Gill was a Resident Assistant at Bryant College, and said he “really enjoyed helping students with their college experience and found it very rewarding to be a part of a college community.” His goal for the year is to “help the other CLCs make a wonderful community at Williams as well as developing the Community Life department.”
Hayes would like to see some “anxiety-prevention programming.” She said she knows how stressful college life can be and wants the CLCs to find a way to help students deal with that stress.
Leathers was involved in the Windows on Williams (WOW) program when she attended the College. After graduation, she became the resident director and coordinator of student orientation for the Sage Colleges in Albany, N.Y. After learning about residential services, she realized that she wanted to come back to Williams and implement new programs. She said that her role “is to help build community here on campus. . . I also serve as a liaison to other departments on campus to keep HCs and residents informed.”
All four of the CLCs are eager to talk to students and get everyone involved in creating a tighter-knit community. They offer a variety of perspectives and provide a unique kind of support which is different than that available from deans, Junior Advisors or peers.