The reorganization of the College of William and Mary Student Activities office over winter break has led to the consolidation of its operations and personnel underneath the umbrella of the expanded Office of Student Leadership Development.
The sudden resignation of longtime Director of Student Activities Mark Constantine in the fall semester prompted a search for a replacement that ultimately resulted in a merger that shifted nearly all the position’s duties onto Director of Student Leadership Development Anne Arseneau ’89 M.Ed. ’92. Her department, which was only established last July, previously consisted of a handful of staff members and oversaw leadership initiatives, fraternities and sororities.
“My impression is that they were proceeding to do a search for the new director of student activities, and sometimes a change process looks different as you charge along with it. At a certain point they realized that our office’s events, services and initiative programs were the end goal to serve student organizations,” Arseneau said.
According to Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement and Leadership Drew Stelljes, who was involved in planning and implementing the reorganization, implementing the process did not require any additional financial resources.
“In order to provide the very best student leadership development opportunities for students and to harness the many strengths of staff, the creation of one Office of Student Leadership Development was, in both the short-term and the long-term, the best approach for our staff and students,” Stelljes said in an email. “I was determined to be most efficient with funds and to provide staff with professional opportunities that matched their strength areas.”
The reorganization necessitated changes in the duties of some staff members. Assistant Director Jennifer Leung, who worked with the Greek life system, has taken on a role with the scheduling office. Assistant Director Trici Fredrick M.Ed. ’05, whose previous work in the Student Activities office encompassed event programming, has taken on further responsibilities with student publications and financial matters. The office is also in the process of hiring two new coordinators to work with clubs and activities.
“We are hoping to add more staff, but now we are just pitching in and taking on new roles,” Fredrick said. “It’s actually really exciting because we like working with students, and now we’re pooling our resources to help the organizations work better.”
Arseneau hopes the reorganization will allow students to use campus activities as a way to parlay into leadership opportunities.
“The big thing was, for us, the way in which we want to support students, and every student who wants to increase their leadership responsibility will have that capacity,” Arseneau said. “We haven’t been doing it too well, so now we want to open the door to get every student who wants to have a high-impact leadership experience to be able to attain that.”