Chelsea Morrese steps into role of Landis Director


Chelsea Morrese has worked at Landis most of her time at Lafayette and is excited to build stronger relationships with the Easton community partners. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

By Emma Chen, Assistant News Editor

After working at the Landis Center for the past five years, Chelsea Morrese has become the new Director of the Landis Center after Civil Engineering Professor Arthur Kney stepped down.

Kney has worked with Morrese the entire time they have worked at Landis, and expressed enthusiasm at her recent promotion. He cited her ability to dedicate more of her time to the position than him due to his multiple positions on campus.

“We really have done this together over the years. And for the last two years, I said, well, Chelsea, eventually you’re going to be the director, so she’s really running the show now,” Kney said. “I teach and I’m involved in other service activities on campus, and so I think the job is better suited for somebody who has the full time to oversee what’s happening in the center.”

He added that her immense experience and dedication to community engagement will make her well suited for the job of Landis Director.

“I think she has a great background education and understanding of how to organize and execute different programs,” Kney said. “I think over time, some of these programs that we’ve been establishing will become funded because of what she brings to the table. She’s just easy to talk to, so the ability to connect with people is really a strength of hers.

Landis Office Coordinator Mary Foulk echoed Kney’s statements, emphasizing that Morrese’s people skills and personability are large assets to the position.

“I think Chelsea is going to be a really good leader,” Foulk said. “She’s already shown that she is connected to the community and the faculty, and that is going to be key, moving us forward and all working together.”

Morrese noted her own excitement in stepping into the role and the plans she has for the future of Landis. She is excited to bring together different sects of the Lafayette community in order to centralize community engagement initiatives.

“It’s a priority moving forward to get everybody on the same page who is working on similar or the same initiatives because what we find is that we all are thinking about the same things, but we’re not always all working together,” Morrese said. “We want to identify people in the campus working on these issues, get them the same space to talk about what they’re doing, share those ideas and find ways to collaborate together.”

One other priority for Morrese that she wants to target in her new position is more integration of social justice and community engagement.

“It is so important for us to get more social justice training, so looking at things like access and privilege and distribution of resources and getting them into our civic leadership training,” Morrese said. “Then our students are trained in that and then they can take those ideals with them when they do training in other areas of campus.”

Kney said that one of his more distant hopes for Landis is its expansion into engagement with the Allentown and Bethlehem communities, however, he expressed frustration that this would be difficult without a parallel Landis staff expansion.

“The president and I would like to see us expand into Bethlehem and Allentown,” Kney said. “So certainly if we have the staffing and the funding to do that, that would be another growth area for us over the next few years.”

However, both Kney and Foulk regarded the issue of staffing as a hurdle in any sort of large expansion.

“There’s a lot we could grow, but it requires staffing because we’re already all so busy doing the things that we are supposed to be doing, so I don’t know how much we could grow until we get additional people,” Foulk said.

All in all, Morrese is most looking forward to expanding and strengthening the relationships between the Lafayette community and the Easton community.

“We really are the nexus of community partnership…between Lafayette and the Easton community. Lafayette is a part of the Easton community. We talk sometimes as if it’s a separate entity. It is not,” Morrese said. “And so, we have resources that we can share and they have resources that they can share. And so that’s what I see myself doing is facilitating those partnerships.”