Changing the world often sounds like a lofty goal, and big goals require small steps. In honor of Landis Day, the Landis Center for Community Engagement wants to recognize a few faculty, students, and staff who know that changing our campus, community, and world requires individual commitment, a common purpose, and active citizenship. Here are the 2020 Landis Active Citizens.

Sam Scott ’22
Pre-Orientation Service Program, Teens in the Community, Pi Beta Phi philanthropy chair

Portrait of SamPrior to her start at Lafayette, Scott became involved in the Easton community through the Pre-Orientation Service Program (POSP) where she fell in love with building relationships with teens in the community. It inspired her to volunteer that year through the MOSAIC program at the Easton Area Community Center where she continued to mentor teens and assist them with homework. Leadership came next as she has served as a staff member at POSP every year since, including her virtual work with members of the Class of 2024 and area kids during COVID. Her Landis experience is something she transferred over to her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, in her role of philanthropy chair where she partners with Landis on Literacy Day and leverages Landis approaches to offer literacy support to local kids. Scott was one of the principle organizers behind the Greek fundraiser that netted over $27,000 for local COVID relief in addition to fundraisers for racial injustice initiatives. Recently she was involved in the Lafayette Votes initiative, but more of her time has been dedicated to reigniting the One Love chapter on campus that educates students about relationship violence.

Why Heart Landis
“Landis has been fundamental in motivating and educating me and others at Lafayette to form strong bonds with the Easton community. It’s not about just showing up but helping in the best way you can. My life would not have purpose if not in service to others. Landis helped me get to know the community, meet other like-minded students, and find so many ways to be of service.”

 

Brooke Paccione ’21
America Reads, Literacy Day, MOSAIC leadership coordinator

Portrait of BrookeBooks have formed a ladder that Paccione has climbed rung by rung as a campus leader. It began her first year. Looking for a federal work study job, she became a tutor in the America Reads program, helping elementary children become more confident readers and students. She fell in love with the work. By her sophomore year, she coordinated the America Reads program at Cheston Elementary where she got to know the school, issues the children faced, and  community partners working to help students overcome those issues. By her junior year, she was the team leader that all America Reads coordinators reported to. That year she also led Literacy Day, helping plan and run a full day of activities. As a senior, she now serves as  MOSAIC leadership coordinator, overseeing five different teams that focus on various social justice issues, all while still tutoring local elementary students who need extra help with school.

Why Heart Landis
“This is where I found my place at Lafayette. I learned more about myself and my community, and formed relationships with so many young people across Easton. Landis has connected me to other passionate student leaders and staff who share the same excitement over the work we do and have become lifelong friends because of it.”

 

Dylan Gooding ’23
Lafayette Votes!

Portrait of DylanAs a member of the Kirby Government and Law Society, Gooding saw a need to get the campus engaged with the 2020 election. His idea of a series of panels helped connect him with the folks at Landis. He joined the Lafayette Votes! board and soon was collaborating with a number of campus groups also involved in the election. Gooding cites some low voter statistics for Lafayette students and wants to change that. “I want young people to be informed when at the poll and vote,” he says. “One day we will direct the country, and only when all the citizens vote will we have a clear sense of what the people want.” Life for him doesn’t end after Nov. 3. He will continue to champion voting and serve on the civic engagement council.

Why Heart Landis
“It offers a great variety of ways to be involved in the community with people who genuinely want to make the world better for all.”

 

Kim Kmetz
Manager, Easton Main Street Initiative 

Portrait of KimStudents call the College home for four years, but Kmetz works to get them to fall in love with Easton. Most recently she joined leaders from various Greek Life organizations to extoll the city’s virtues. “Students owe it to themselves to get involved in Easton and make wonderful memories here,” she says. Every year Kmetz leads orientation leaders through city-wide tours and works to speak with various campus groups that include faculty, staff, and students about all that happens in the city and ways to embrace the community. “We hope they see that Easton is a hard place to leave,” she says. 

Why Heart Landis
“No matter how weird the task I might have, the Landis staff greets it with enthusiasm and always believes they can find people to help. Over time I build relationships with students and grieve the loss of seniors who have been particularly helpful and generous with their time and talents.”

 

Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Yusuf Dahl, Jolene Cardassi, and Chris Ruebeck

Portrait of Dyer Center team

Recognizing ways in which their programs have similar missions and goals, the Dyer Center and Landis Center staff have been meeting with regularity for a few years to discuss ways to build trust, cross promote their work, and find the right synergies. That has found its stride last year when Ruebeck assumed the role of faculty director. The centers collaborated on the new social entrepreneurship course as well as Criminal Justice Reform Awareness Week; they continue to refer students and faculty to each other based on their respective focus. This year they have launched a joint Landis and Dyer Center fellowship, appointing two students to collaborate on local initiatives. Both groups see what they’re building as a model for other centers and programs on campus that are hoping to establish partnerships to benefit students, campus, and the community.

Why Heart Landis
“We are both predisposed to try new things. Some soar and some fail. It is refreshing to have a partner who is willing to allow both. It’s more refreshing to have a partner recognize that working together creates exponential success.”

 

Natalie Schmit ’22
POSP and MOSAIC program coordinator

Portrait of NatalieSchmit started at the College with community in her mind as part of the Pre-Orientation Service Program (POSP). From there her engagement just grew, staying involved in PSOP each year and even planning to lead the Kids in the Community portion of that program until COVID altered those plans. Since her first year she has worked with the elderly in Easton. At first it was in the memory unit at the posh Easton Home, and then she moved to The Gardens, one of the few local nursing homes that accepts Medicare and Medicaid. She still leads the “Art for the Young at Heart” program there, and her team of student volunteers often encounter the challenges that accompany aging—pain, emotional needs, and physical restrictions.“Many elderly folks experience loneliness and loss of freedom; however, each week the Gardens residents and my volunteers bring joy and energy to our program,” she says. “Our work has been one of the things I have loved most about my time at Lafayette.” This semester, Schmit is leading Holiday Helpers, which allows Lafayette students, staff, and faculty to give back to the Easton community by donating necessities, toys, and gift cards to families around the holidays.

Why Heart Landis
“Landis has helped connect me to the best people, and the Center’s educational models have helped me think meaningfully about the work we do and ensure it is sustainable. To reflect on these experiences with my peers is incredibly impactful.”

 

Justin Smith
Assistant professor of computer science

Portrait of JustinWhen Smith joined the College last fall, he was excited to partner with Landis in order to turn class projects into something more: opportunities to build relationships with the community and make learning have tangible impacts. “Students are always more motivated when their class projects reflect the real world and mirror what they will experience in the future,” he says. He turned to Landis to find partners for his Human Computer Interaction class and had students work with Easton organizations that needed help with both front end and back end digital interfaces. His class has worked with Easton Hunger Coalition, ProJeCt of Easton, Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank, and more. “The reward for a student, seeing dramatic improvements on nonprofit websites, is meaningful,” he says.

Why Heart Landis
“As a newcomer to the Lafayette community, I appreciate how easy Landis is to work with, as well as the repository of connections they have at the ready. They have been an essential facilitator in making my students’ projects come alive.”

 

Charlie Brownstein ’21
Lafayette Votes!

Portrait of CharlieNot voting when people have fought for the right to cast a ballot upsets Brownstein. That’s why she got involved in helping students exercise their right. She has organized multiple faculty-led panel discussions around the first debate, what to expect at polling places, and how COVID cases at the White House might impact the election. She has visited virtual classrooms, provided Pennsylvania and out-of-state voting resources, appeared on the local news, and talked at length with her friends. “Young people don’t often vote but have the power to address issues that really impact them,” she says.

Why Heart Landis
“Landis is a wonderful way for the Lafayette community to use their power, knowledge, and resources to help make Easton and the world a better place.”

Categorized in: Campus life, Community, Community-Based Learning and Research, Faculty and Staff, Featured News, Landis Center, News and Features, Students

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