Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Associate Dean of Students Myrt Westphal surprised many students with an email sent Friday stating that Student Activities Coordinator Paury Flowers had resigned. In the email, Westphal wrote that Flowers was resigning mid-semester “in order to pursue her dream of running her own event management company, Flowers Event Management.”
Flowers, whose last day at Swarthmore was technically Friday, wrote in an email to The Daily Gazette that she was moving on for a variety of reasons, including “repositioning myself to be able to manage life as a working mom, artist, and community member more effectively.”
She also wrote that she wants to “take it to the next level~I realized today is the day I write my own story~cultivate wonder~live the life you love~when you trust in yourself anything is possible~your voice matters.”
The public Facebook page for Flowers Event Management (FEM) has been up and active since December 2012, though the page administration lists the company’s founding year as 2008. One post on the page states that FEM had a “soft launch event” on February 17. Others include images of events listed as work experience as Swarthmore’s student activities coordinator, such as last spring’s LSE performance by Childish Gambino. In the “About” section, Flowers is listed as founding CEO.
Flowers’ resignation leaves a wide-open space in the Student Activities Office that will be filled by a slew of other staff members Westphal detailed in her email to the student body. “Staff members leave at all times of the year depending upon what fits their needs best,” Westphal wrote in an email to The Daily Gazette. “While the timing complicates things a bit, I am confident that with the other members of the Deans’ office picking up the pieces of her portfolio, and the talented student interns and alums also pitching in, we will be fine.”
Westphal explained in her Friday email that there will be a “two-part transition plan” for student activities until September, when a replacement will be working at full capacity. For now, orientation will be overseen by Anne Clauss, with Assistant Dean for Residential Life Rachel Head as advising some larger events. Wellness Coordinator Satya Nelms will be helping the student managers in Paces, Tarble Tech, Olde Club, and the Student Activities Committee. Susan Smythe in Facilities will be helping with Worthstock and LSE.
A pair of recent Swarthmore graduates, Nell Bang-Jensen and Arik Davidson, have been hired on a part-time basis to assist with much of this work and will start next week, according to Westphal, who will herself have general oversight responsibilities.
Head wrote in an email to The Daily Gazette that “we are very excited about the plans for the rest of the year, especially in relation to having young alums join the Student Life Team!”
Westphal wrote to The Daily Gazette that “Paury has been thinking about starting her own business for a while, taking classes and workshops. Flowers wrote, “For many years I have considered being a business owner but I decided to ‘hang my shingle’ in December 2012.”
Flowers wrote that her main work at this time includes working as “East Coast tour manager for Corset Magazine,” as well as supporting events like baby and bridal showers, and “a poetry event hosted by a natural hair salon in Philly.” She also plans to spend more time on personal interests like writing and music.
“We wish Paury all the best in her future endeavors,” wrote Westphal. “I will miss her and look forward to seeing her entrepreneurial success.”
Flowers wrote, “I have a wonderful set of people that I have worked with for years that I consider to be my friends.”
This article has been updated to include the names of the graduates hired to help with student activities, Nell Bang-Jensen and Arik Davidson, as well as the fact that they will start work next week.