My name is William Lee and I am a sophomore from Brooklyn, NY. I serve on the Lehman Council for Community Engagement, and we are working very closely with Lindsay Moore ’09 to push for greater institutional support for student engagement with public affairs and community service. We were wondering if Ephblog could raise this issue in a post.

Last Wednesday, the Record published an op-ed by Laura Christianson and Janna Gordon, also on Lehman, which very succinctly explains what we are doing. There seems to be a general sentiment on campus that Williams students could be doing so much more with public affairs and community service, and that there is a severe lack of institutional support for students who do this kind of work. Currently, Williams’ Center for Community Engagement employs only one part-time staff member, and simply does not have the capacity to effectively coordinate resources and expertise for students. By comparison, schools like Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury and Hamilton have endowed, multi-million dollar Centers for Community Engagement that employ up to eight full time staff members. The amazing work that Williams students do now with public affairs and community engagement could be exponentially greater and more closely integrated into the Williams experience if the College made an institutional investment in supporting student activism and service.

We are collecting student signatures for a petition that Lindsay Moore will present at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Oct 16. So far, we have 250 names, and we aim to reach our target of 700 signatures by Sunday. We would also greatly appreciate it if alumni could show their support and sign the petition as well, and we were wondering if you could mention this in an Ephblog post.

Links: Record op-ed. There will be another article in tomorrow’s Record about our efforts.

Online petition: Setting the PACE for Excellence in the Liberal Arts: Public Affairs + Community Engagement at Williams

We are extremely interested in listening to what alumni think about this, and Ephblog is the perfect forum for doing so. We are also collecting testimonials from students and alumni expressing their frustrations with the lack of institutional support for student involvement in public affairs and civic engagement. If you or any alumni you know would like to contribute testimonials to the report we are presenting to the Board of Trustees, we are more than happy to include them. (Anywhere from a couple of sentences to several paragraphs suffices.)

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