The What Matters to Me and Why Dinner, held in Upper Baldwin on Wednesday evening, aimed to bring together faculty, staff and students, allowing them to share what is important to them. Those who attended had the opportunity to listen to featured speaker Leroy Wright, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students. Wright spoke about his background and vision for Albion College as a new member of the Albion College community.
Wright understands that all students are not the same and that they all have their own issues, concerns and needs. Throughout his speech, Wright referenced the idea of being a “lighthouse” for students, which he described as being someone who is always there supporting someone and offering themselves as a safe place for them to go to.
“You only have to be a lighthouse for one person and help. And what I mean by that, is [Wright] said, be somebody that makes somebody feel like somebody,” said Jim Takeshita, a junior from Novi.
It doesn’t matter if you are a big or small lighthouse, said Takeshita, it is just important that you have a positive influence, even if you’re not a lighthouse yet and are just a pile of rocks.
“Be yourself. Let your light shine because when we let our light shine, we unconsciously let others let their light shine, and it’s just like a domino effect, we could spread the positivity from one group to another,” said ArShawn Parker, a fifth year from Detroit.
Parker resonated with Wright’s idea of letting one’s light shine and how this allows others to be themselves, leading to a more positive and accepting campus.
“I think the best thing Leroy Wright said tonight is to be somebody and make somebody feel like somebody,” said Jayson Sawyer, a junior from Chicago.
Sawyer explained that in American society, people tend to be individualistic and competitive, often finding themselves tearing each other down. As a result, being able to help another person like you would yourself speaks highly of your own character.
Students reflected on and applied what Wright said to not only their current lives, but to their futures as well. Jalisa Cortez, a senior from Chicago, wants to go into social work after graduation and help inner city youth. She was able to apply what Wright said about being a lighthouse for someone to her future plans.
“I want to be able to be the light for them and show them that they have people that care for them and are rooting them on,” said Cortez. “[Wright]reassured me that I’m doing it because I want to be able to help [people] and guide them, not necessarily go in and save them, just help them find their way and lead them on the right path.”
Along with Kelsey Earle, Residence Hall Director for Whitehouse and Seaton Hall, students are looking forward to seeing the impact and changes that Wright will make during his time on campus.
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about how students feel,” said Earle. “My table was actually talking about the atmosphere and how we’ve noticed a change in the atmosphere at Albion, how its more positive and polite, and hopefully it’s going to stay that way.”