Lamb appointed new assistant director for student involvement

Ben Lamb, previously the interim assistant director for student involvement, was recently announced as the permanent assistant director for student involvement following the conclusion of a national search. 

In addition, Lamb recently received the Outstanding New Professional Award from the American College Personnel Association Commission on Administrative Leadership, which is the largest national association of student affairs professionals.

In his role in the Office of Student Life, Lamb will continue “to help foster leadership and identity development opportunities” at the College, he said, which will include facilitating leadership workshops, Sophomorientation, Frosh Council, Frosh Leadership Weekend and training and orientation for members of clubs and student groups. Lamb also oversees the yearbook, Williams Transport and Williams After Dark; serves as an advisor to All Campus Entertainment; and is involved in leading the new Financial Literacy at Williams program. In addition to working with student organizations, Lamb said he also aims to “create conversation and dialogue that can help students be leaders both during their time here at Williams and as they launch out into the world.”

Lamb said that at the moment his most specific project in his new role as assistant director for student involvement entails “working with student clubs and organizations to make sure they all have a standard set of knowledge” for running a successful organization. “This will include points on where to go for specific resources, how to plan and execute a program logistically and also looking to get as much club leadership trained in host and server [work] so that no more events need to be canceled due to a lack of host or server availability,” Lamb said. “In that same vein, I look forward to hopefully working with College Council to really address the clubs and organizations we already have and making sure that those remain sustainable.”

Lamb said that the College has over 150 recognized student groups but that the downside to having so many groups is “that you get a lot that last a year and die out or a bunch of clubs essentially doing the same thing but just calling themselves by a different name. Hopefully, through auditing the current system for recognizing clubs and organizations, we can establish a baseline needed to be a registered student club or organization.”

As for the leadership initiatives that Student Life undertook this year, Lamb said that it is important for the department to focus on fully integrating programs that were new this year and “[making] sure we have a solid foundation before spreading ourselves too much thinner.”

Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass spoke to Lamb’s successes as interim assistant director, which were instrumental in the decision to keep him on permanently. “Ben really, really did a wonderful job showing how all of his background fits together, and we were able to add that to what we know about the great work he’s already done,” Klass said.

Over the long term, Lamb said he would like to investigate the concept of co-curricular transcripts, a concept he explored in his Master’s thesis.

“I think it could be something really useful for Williams students in general,” Lamb said. “Co-curricular transcripts essentially act as a certified document of your involvement as a student outside of the classroom … It gives you, as the student, something you can refer to later on as you are writing your resume but also proof that you partook in those activities.” Lamb elaborated that where student extracurriculars are concerned, “Anyone can say they were involved in any group during college, however, few people can say that and supply a certified document that supports the claim and especially at a place like Williams … it becomes difficult to remember everything you were involved in as you are preparing your resume later on in your college career,” he said. “These systems are also great from an institutional standpoint in that they provide huge amounts of research in trends on campus [and] for students to track the great work and learning that they are doing outside of the classroom.”

Dean Bolton spoke to Lamb’s ingenuity and ability to generate ideas useful to the College: “He’s always leaping into figuring out what’s needed and encouraging that to happen, and I think he’s just a really productive thinker in terms of Student Life,” she said. “He thinks very broadly about the office and what it can cover.”

Lamb is excited by the opportunities provided by his permanent position.

“I’m completely elated by having the opportunity to continue working here at Williams,” Lamb said. “This really is my dream position, and being able to continue the work that our office is forging into is something that I am really excited about.”

 

Additional reporting by Lindsay Thygesen, news editor.

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