The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Landis restructure seeks program unification

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The Landis Center is located in the Feather House.

The Landis Center for Community Engagement has big changes coming to its program, including the creation of four key initiative areas and a new student position, with the intent to bring more unification across all Landis projects. Although these developments have been in progress for over five years, a series of setbacks presented challenges that the changes intend to overcome.

Since 2018, with the merging of the Landis Community Outreach Center and the Center for Community Engagement, the program has struggled with organizing its ever-growing list of community partners, service programs and individual research projects.

“Our students were saying that they felt siloed, [the programs] kind of felt a little cliquey sometimes. And anything that wasn’t Mosaic, [Alternative Student Break] or [Pre-orientation Service Program], we didn’t know where to put it … they weren’t getting the same support as [those] programs were getting,” Chelsea Morrese, director of the Landis Center, said.

Attempts to address this problem started in 2019. However, all solutions were essentially put on hold with the interruption of staff turnover and the pandemic. With growing stability in the last few years, the program now feels ready to reintroduce its plan for restructuring and unification.

“All of the ideas were already kind of out there. It was the action that needed to move forward … in a way that we have our individual groups, but that we bring them kind of together,” assistant director Jodi Fowler explained.

With this goal in mind, Landis staff brainstormed new ways to create both intersectionality and organization between the different programs.

“We created these communities of practice within our four key initiative areas. So, there are access and equity, student housing security and sovereignty, community development and civic participation,” Morrese said. “So, we concentrate our work and our resources in those four areas … based on where students and faculty had interest, but also where our community was demonstrating or expressing … they need support.”

In addition to these key initiative areas, the Landis Center has also created a new student-led position to bring unification between the programs.

Erin Caputo ’25, who has assumed this new role as Landis Leader Coordinator, was hired in late spring of 2023.

“[My role] is ensuring that all of the Landis leaders are well educated and aware of what each group is doing because what we want to be is somewhere that people can go and be like, ‘I want to get involved in this’ … and then I want … our leaders to be able to say, ‘I know exactly where to send you,’” Caputo said.

Landis Center staff ultimately believes that more unity and collaboration among the individual programs will compel more students to engage in the Easton community.

“Really, the goal for us is to make sure that our student body understands who Landis is and how they can get involved and the different avenues that they can take to get involved,” Fowler said.

With these new changes, the Landis Center continues to promise their support and encouragement in all service endeavors.

“We would love for the [Lafayette] community to understand that if they want to go out into Easton … the first stop is here, because we can help give them the tools, we can help get them connected with community partners,” Fowler said. “But we need them to come to us first so that we know that it’s going on so that we can support them throughout their engagement.”

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About the Contributors
Clara Witmer, Assistant News Editor
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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