The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

College seeks community input on mission statement, values

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The mission statement is a small part of two of Hurd’s major goals at Lafayette: carrying out both a long-term strategic plan and a master plan.

College President Nicole Hurd announced a draft of a revised college mission statement and community values, encouraging all campus community members to fill out a survey for feedback to amend the document before its finalization. The survey, announced last Friday, will remain open through Nov. 10.

The draft version of the community values statement includes engaged learning, community belonging, responsible citizenship, environmental sustainability and institutional excellence. 

The draft document also included an updated mission statement.

“A lot of people would say that our current mission statement is rather generic,” Hurd said. “I hope what people see in the [new] mission statement is that it’s Lafayette’s mission statement. Another school couldn’t use it.”

This is the first time the college has amended its mission statement since May of 1983.

Nicole Eramo, chief of staff to the President, has been guiding the strategic plan and steering committee by drafting documents for the strategic plan in addition to her duties assisting Hurd. 

Eramo worked to officially structure the strategic plan with the members of the steering committee. The plan is as follows: the mission statement and values make the overarching vision, supported by various strategic pillars. Under the strategic pillars are working groups, which will create goals. These goals will finally be fulfilled by initiatives.

“Right now that focus has been on the steering committee and getting these drafts done and figuring out what these processes will look like,” Eramo said. “We’re going to try to finalize the strategic pillars, talk about the working groups and what … [they] will look like.”

Student Government has been working to communicate student needs to the project. Virginia Sacotingo ‘25, chair of the Student Government Equity and Inclusion Committee, approached Hurd last spring and has been working with the steering committee to bring changes focusing on transparency through the mission statement and strategic plan. 

“It’s not just … putting a name to diversity, equity and inclusion … it’s putting movements towards it,” Sacotingo said. “In my conversations a lot of students are tired of explaining themselves over and over again.”

“Where there’s movement, there’s progress,” Sacotingo added. “And where there’s no movement and we freeze, then we need to worry.”

Sacotingo emphasized that the integrity of the project must have input from the community. 

“I really want the students to sign that survey, to give feedback as openly and honestly as possible,” Sacotingo said. “If they see a description they want shifted or transformed, put that in there … One thing that we are trying to improve on is enhancing our experience. I want us to wake up as happy as we were to get into the school [and] have [a] home away from home.”

Additionally, the steering committee will soon host listening sessions for chances to gather and discuss ways to improve the draft. 

“What we’re hoping right now is we get feedback from the campus on both the mission and the values and their legacy,” Hurd said. “When those things are done well they will stand the test of time for decades … As we think about … a mission and values, we’ll keep those conversations going.”

As Lafayette approaches its bicentennial, the strategic plan is part of a larger commitment to paving new ground for the college’s future. In Hurd’s inaugural address in 2021 she took inspiration from Michele Obama’s book “Becoming” to view the college’s progress as an “evolutionary journey.” 

This evolutionary journey will require some time, according to Hurd, including meetings with the working groups.

“This is much more … an iterative kind of cycle,” Hurd said. “We will start this working group work before we finish with our mission statement and values because part of what we want [them] to do is spend a little more time on the [mission statement] so that we’ll be as inclusive possible.”

“I want this to be a community thing because an institution has an agenda,” Sacotingo said. “A community has priorities, a community has love … I want them to look at this as we’re building a community, we’re building a better space. And [I want us] to continue fighting, continue talking and continue standing up for what’s right, and justice and not being afraid.”

Editor’s note 11/4/2023: This article has been updated to reflect the extended deadline of the survey.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Emma Li
Emma Li, Staff News Writer
"theatre kid"
Emma Sylvester
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *