New face on campus: Boyd to serve as new CLC

In the late days of summer before the arrival of students for the fall semester, Matthew Boyd, the College’s latest addition to its team of Community Life Coordinators (CLCs) was already making himself at home in Williamstown. Dressed in Khakis and a crisp, button-up shirt, Boyd could easily pass for an Eph eager to meet his new professors.

Boyd hails from Roxbury, Mass., and after attending the Roxbury Latin School for Boys, earned his degree in English at Bowdoin College. His love of music and the help of a friend in the business led him to a brief stint in concert promotion in the greater Boston area. After two years however, a change was in order.

“I didn’t feel I was growing personally the way I wanted to be,” Boyd said. “I wanted to work with students in a position where I can really build skills. I wanted to get back into the college atmosphere.”

Boyd learned of the open position through Bob Graves, director of residential life at Bowdoin, a friend of Jean Thorndike, director of Campus Safety. “He knew I was looking for something like that,” Boyd said.

By the time he graduated from Bowdoin, Boyd was no stranger to residential life. As a frist-year the semester after fraternities were abolished in 1997, he became involved in the new house system, which aimed to open up the former Greek houses to a greater number of students. He gained additional experience as House President during his sophomore year and as Treasurer of the Inter-house Council his senior year.

“I saw the new system from a variety of different angles, and realized how fundamental residential life is to a college,” Boyd said. “To me, residential life can encompass everything outside the classroom.”

One of many projects emphasizing life beyond the campus is “Things you can do beyond the Purple Bubble,” a weekly leaflet filled with community service opportunities and various events in the College’s surrounding regions. The idea originated with Lindsay Hayes, former CLC. Now a teacher in Connecticut, she has not severed ties with the College.

“She has been in e-mail contact with me, just wondering how things are going,” Boyd said. “After working here for a year and being so intricately involved, she wants to see how the program has been growing and changing.”

Now Boyd’s responsibilities center on Mission Park, where he works primarily with sophomores through regularly scheduled meetings and informal meetings. The first upcoming event will be an “all-Mission” barbeque to be held on Sept. 17, which aims to better acquaint Mission residents. The second work in progress is the forthcoming “Fall into Winter” formal.

Even though he has only held the job for a matter of weeks, Boyd has only good things to say about the College and its students: “It’s been fascinating to know all of these amazing, smart, and interesting people from all walks of life.”

Boyd notes that the program which formed the team of CLCs is only a year old, but even in its relative infancy, he sees no need for any drastic changes. The primary concern, he says, is “figuring out how best to help a good social life and community life be born, and to sort out which direction the program is going without pushing it too hard.” He recognizes that residential life can mean many different things to each school and he looks to gradual change as the necessary means to achieve the program’s goals.

In the meantime, Boyd encourages students to enjoy both what lies within and what lies beyond the Purple Bubble: “places you might not think of going, like restaurants in Bennington, a nice place to go in North Adams, or a drive-in in New York someplace.” He recalls how easy it was for him to sit in his dorm room, watching TV with friends, and while that does play a part in college life, “getting a consciousness of what’s around you is important too, and I’m still learning, just like everybody else.”