As the school year is starting to wind down for most students, Campus Engagement is working hard to create the special events that make the Bryant experience so unique. This department is busy year-round creating some of your favorite campus events. In the midst of this busy time for Campus Engagement, Judy Kawamoto, Director of Campus Engagement met with me to talk about this truly unique operation on campus.
When Judy started working at Bryant in 1997, Campus Engagement was a far cry from the department we know today; in fact, it wasn’t even a department. With six total employees, what was then known as the Bryant Center housed two departments: Bryant Center Operations and Student Activities. Since then, Judy has overseen the merging of the two divisions into Campus Engagement and has watched the department grow into one of the most crucial operations to student life as we know it at Bryant.
Campus Engagement extends far beyond the daily operations visible to the visitors of the Fisher Student Center. While the academic calendar ends in May for most of the Bryant community, Campus Engagement works hard year-round. In fact, June is one of their busier months as they spend two full weeks accommodating the 1,000 plus orientation guests who visit during the four orientation sessions.
Just as crucial to the foundation of the Fisher Student Center as Dunkin Donuts on Monday mornings, are the 11 staff members of Campus Engagement and 50 student workers who seem to be constantly running around campus in red polo’s. These team members are busy with good reason. Many operations crucial to Bryant come through Campus Engagement. This department notably caters to the over 100 student organizations on campus which include Greek Life, media organizations, Student Senate, Student Programming Board, and Commuter Connection.
In addition to student-run programs, Campus Engagement is involved in the IDEA program, opening weekend, orientation, senior week, spring weekend, and many other activities synonymous with the Bryant experience. Of course, Campus Engagement also oversees the operations of the Fisher Student Center, which Judy is proud to say “really has become the living room of campus.”
Although the space reopened after renovations just over a year ago, Judy and the rest of the Campus Engagement staff are constantly reevaluating the space and what happens in it. Never satisfied with the status quo, this department is continually searching for the best structure and services for students. Nonetheless, Judy was happy to report that a survey recently completed by over 600 students indicated that the community is very happy with the space and services provided.
According to her, the success of Campus Engagement is largely due to the “rockstar staff.” The department is proud to employ approximately 50 student workers, who also account for some of the more recognizable student leaders on campus. The department chooses to hire student workers because they are committed to the traditional student union model. In addition to other key ideas, the philosophy of Campus Engagement is to create opportunities for student involvement and create student leaders.
As hard as they work, the Campus Engagement team members all really seem to love what they do. Committed to creating the best services for students, Campus Engagement is central to the exciting opportunities that make Bryant such a special place to attend college.