Nestled in the hallway of the Hicks Student Center past the radio room, the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) is filled with students rushing in and out through the glass door. Kalamazoo College is filled with students leading on-campus organizations seeking to become more involved with the student body, and OSI seeks to assist all who enter. This influx of students and the piling responsibilities on the workers of the office have brought about the arrival of OSI’s newest member, Director of Student Activities Jon Collier.
With experience in dealing with students at a small liberal arts college, Collier developed his knowledge of the position through previous work at Albion College. As the Assistant Director for Greek Life and Student Organization, he worked members of the student body at Albion who sought assistance for the same reasons as they would at Kalamazoo. When learning of the position at Kalamazoo, he was drawn to the institution after recognizing its strength and the strength of its students.
As a new employee, Collier is taking his time to examine the forces at Kalamazoo College that make the school function.
“I want to listen to the philosophies, try to learn as much as I can, getting to a point where I can help out,” Collier said.
A large part of the position will constitute of speaking with student leaders and establishing connections among the student body. Collier seeks to assist with the development of student organization and crafting strong student leaders. His vision has the goal of student organizations that can run independently, with OSI being a guide and a constant source of assistance if needed. This approach is one that emphasizes the involvement of student organizers to give them experiences that will ultimately allow them to develop skills transferable to endeavors outside and past college life.
“Leadership is the way you approach the organization,” Collier says, “OSI gives the ability to help students, see their ideas become a reality.”
An important aspect of Collier’s vision is the accessibility of the services of OSI to the student body, the belief that students should have access to the resources that Kalamazoo College can provide without any red tape. The support of student organizations with an emphasis on assisting those who have formed clubs and seek to build them up or those who want to make a new club is of the utmost importance.
The changes sought by Collier align with the spirit of OSI — the inclusiveness and accessibility of the students to campus programming is something that can be achieved through interactions with the office itself. Collier seeks a mutually-beneficial relationship with the student body, where the needs of the students allow him insight into the functioning of the school which he can subsequently address. This progress towards transparency and access is made as a community, by OSI and Collier, and through the student body.
Students who are interested in meeting Collier are invited to stop by the Book Club on Monday, 2/12 during common time. Snacks will be available.