Editor’s note: photo taken in 2018.

By Shannon Sigafoos

When arriving at college, students can find themselves looking for a new sense of purpose and community. Often, they find this by getting involved with causes that are personal to them. Though involvement can prove time consuming, it also provides a break from the rigors of coursework, establishes new friendships and connections, may help alleviate stress, and make the college experience more balanced and enjoyable. Here, seniors tell us how their clubs and organizations helped them feel a sense of belonging and adjust more easily to life at Lafayette:

Tanmaya Goenka ‘21 | Student Government

Tanmaya Goenka ‘21 was actively involved in Student Government

“Undertaking the role of Director of the Student Services committee within Student Government has been the crux of my learning curve since it has made me understand the importance of the community at Lafayette. I was nervous when I stepped into the position, but everyone, from my committee members to the executive board of Student Government, made me feel so comfortable and helped me adjust to this role in every way possible. Over two years, I formed a close-knit community within this diverse organization and I had the confidence that each of my committee members as well as the rest of Student Government had my back, and vice versa. Whether it was coping with my physical health or mental health, my peers were always there to support me. I am so grateful I was able to absorb such diverse perspectives and it made me confident about my voice and the impact each of us can have within the community–a lesson I will carry forward all my life!”



Zev Granowitz ‘21 | Hillel Society

Zev Granowitz '21 posing in front of mountainsHillel provided a home-away-from-home for me as a first year student at Lafayette. Ever since my first day on campus, I have known that Hillel is a place I could go to for support and to spend time with some of my best friends. I have already visited some of the Lafayette Hillel alumni and look forward to staying in touch with everyone after graduation.” 



Alisha Gangadharan ’21 | Landis Center, Alpha Phi Omega

Alisha Gangadharan ‘21 found purpose with Landis and APO

“Community engagement has definitely defined my experience at Lafayette. It’s helped me discover the values and passions I’m most committed to, and all the people who I can share them with. Being part of the Landis and Alpha Phi Omega communities has given me the opportunity to get to know and grow alongside the most genuine, and straight up coolest people I knowsome of whom I have the privilege to call my best friends. I’m forever grateful for that.” 



Mary Zimmerman ‘21 | Swim Team

Mary Zimmerman's official Lafayette swim team photo

“My swim team has certainly provided me with a family environment. The entire team has been a support-system for me since the first day that I arrived at Lafayette. The compassion, empathy, and willingness to understand and accept differences of each member has made me feel that I could be myself. I have made life-long friends that I know will be there for me at any time that I need them.”




Melissa Niles ‘21 | Nia: Women of Purpose

Melissa Niles '21, posing on campus, found a sisterhood with NIA Women of Purpose“NIA has always represented a warm and secure space for me to authentically be myself. From freshman year to now, NIA has been a place where I realized that my voice deserves to be heard. At NIA meetings  I could laugh, cry, sing, and network. In going to NIA events I realized that without my community I am nothing. It is at NIA that I met and bonded with some of my closest friends. My Lafayette experience would not be the same without my NIA sistas and siblings and I am so grateful that Lafayette introduced me to the true meaning of community.” 



Dominic Zhang ‘21 | Lafayette Ambassadors

Dominic Zhang '21 posing for a head shot“Being a part of the Ambassadors of Lafayette program in the past four years has really helped me to develop my interpersonal skills and introduced me to all kinds of cool people on campus that I otherwise would not have possibly met. I got involved as a tour guide my second semester on campus, which definitely helped me to meet the majority of my good friends today, and those friendships will go long on after graduation given all the memorable moments I have shared with my fellow tour guides, like giving tours on our annual XLC Day (admitted students day) here. I love Lafayette and see it as my second home, and in the end I’m just glad to have had that opportunity to present the best version of Lafayette to other prospective students who are seriously considering coming to Lafayette, like I did, four short years ago.”


Brooke Paccoine ‘21 | landis Center

Brooke Paccoine ‘21 says the Landis Center helped her find her placeBeing a part of the Landis Center for Community Engagement is where I found my place at Lafayette. The work I have done has allowed me to give something back to a community that has given so much to me. It has connected me with other student leaders and staff who share the same passion for the work we do and have become lifelong friends because of it.”


Zachary Whitney ’21 | Lafayette Ambassadors

Zachary Whitney '21, headshot taken by Adam for Bring the Best

“I have absolutely loved working as an ambassador with admissions because it gave me an opportunity to talk every week about how much I adore this place that has become home to me. The other students involved in this program are all just as passionate about the school—and moreover the people that make up the community, and I’m certain they will continue to be in my life as we pursue the world beyond Lafayette. Not to mention, of course, the spectacular experience of meeting, recruiting, interviewing, and just altogether getting to know each newest class of leopards. Even if I won’t be able to meet them on campus next year, I know a fantastic group of Pards will be joining us, and that’s what makes being an Ambassador so rewarding.”


Basit Baloghun ’21 | Dyer Center

Basit Baloghun '21 explored an entrepreneurial mindset at Dyer Center“The Dyer Center has been very critical in helping me explore my entrepreneurship mindset while allowing me to understand the importance and power of technology in business. My participation in a 3-day startup program and consequently the business pitch competition help me better understand how to iterate from an idea into a full-fledged business model. I learned about the importance of customer/market research in any idea, and I have been able to extend this knowledge to other areas of my life. The Dyer Center also funded my team trip to a Hackaton (HackNYU) where we were able to utilize our computer science background to create and innovate outside the 4 walls of a classroom.” 


Alyssa Megson ‘21 | Mosaic

Alyssa Megson '21 head shot“Participating in community service during my first year expanded my worldview. I became a MOSAIC Program Coordinator to become more involved and had the opportunity to meet Lafayette students that I would not have known otherwise. All the teams I worked with were composed of inspirational leaders. This led me to apply for a senior leadership position and become an Assistant Director in hopes that I could inspire others as I had been inspired. From my community engagement experiences at Lafayette, I will continue to cultivate my expanded worldview and leadership abilities in my professional and personal lives. I know that I will always have support from the Landis staff, students, and alumni.”


Rachel Denham ’21 | lafayette ambassadors

Rachel Denham '21 posing on the quad on campus

“As a senior, I look back to freshman year and remember how excited I was to be at Lafayette and share my love for Lafayette with others. One of the best ways to show that was through the Lafayette Ambassadors program, which I was lucky enough to join. With my peers in the program, I felt a collective passion for why we chose Lafayette and how we wanted to help prospective students find that as well. I have learned so much not only about Lafayette but also about why we are so passionate about Lafayette and where that comes from. Just last week I sat on the steps of Markle Hall with one of our Admissions Directors, Becca Pichetto, talking about my four years here and what comes next. It felt like a culmination of all the connections and memories I have made summed up into one hour. I’m grateful to say that I feel extremely thankful to be at Lafayette and to have formed the community that I was so excited about creating for myself.”



2021 Celebrations

Lafayette honors the talented, resilient Class of 2021

Special events and features celebrate this year's seniors

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Categorized in: Class of 2021, Commencement 2021, Featured News, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students

1 Comment

  1. Greg MacDonald says:

    To all our graduating ambassadors, thank you for your service! We appreciate all that you have done to help us build our community.

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