Last month, Kyle Miller and Carl Starkey joined the college community as interim Coordinators for Students Activities and Leadership. They will work in the Office of Student Engagement to help students and campus organizations hold events. The employment of Miller and Starkey is a result of the departure of Mike Elias. Elias, the previous Director of OSE, left Swarthmore at the start of the school year to become an assistant dean at Haverford.
Starkey is eager to become familiar with the campus and students. “I am looking forward to building relationships with students and student organizations, and being a resource for anyone on campus interested in programming and event management,” he wrote in an email.
Miller similarly hopes to become a reliable resource for students. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to enhance the co-curricular experience for students and to help build infrastructure that can support student needs,” he wrote.
Originally from the Midwest, Starkey came to Swarthmore in early November after graduating from St. Olaf College. He plans to spend his professional life working for institutions of higher education. “I am pursuing a career in higher education and joined OSE [at] Swat to further my experience in student activities,” he wrote.
Miller completed his graduate and undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, and he shares interest in the same line of work. “The Office of Student Engagement… was an opportunity to join a vibrant campus community and continue my commitment to higher education,” he explained.
Director for Student Engagement Rachel Head is enthusiastic that Miller and Starkey are joining the OSE team.
“We are very excited to have Kyle and Carl join the Office of Student Engagement,” she wrote in an email. “Carl and Kyle will work alongside the rest of the OSE team… as well as the entire Dean’s Division to support a number of student life and residential life initiatives.”
She believes their diverse backgrounds and experiences qualify them for their new positions. “Both join the OSE with significant experience in advising student organizations and programming boards,” she said. “I am pleased that we are able to offer Swarthmore student organizations two additional resources for event planning and programming.”
Head described Starkey’s role as focusing on collaborations with the Athletics Department, First-Year Orientation, venue management, student transportation, and leading office social media initiatives. She specified that Miller will be supporting Greek Life, Student Government, Olde Club, WSRN, Movie Committee, late night programming, substance-free programming, and managing student events. Both will be involved in supporting the program of OSE Interns, SwatTeam, and large-scale events held on campus .
“The Office of Student Engagement is responsible for both residential life and student activities, and while Kyle and Carl make up the ‘student activities’ side of the [OSE] office, they will work closely with Residential Life staff to support the overall student experience,” she elaborated.
Head expressed particular interest in the pair helping to improve and centralize the student programming calendar, which she described as having been difficult to work with in the past.
“Creating a more accessible and uniform programming calendar for students is one of many top priorities for our office,” she wrote. “I am thrilled that having a full staff will allow us to make progress on that project. Over and over again we hear from students that there is not one central location where all event calendars merge, and that the reservation and funding process for student organizations is really confusing and unnecessarily complicated.”
She mentioned that OSE members had been working on fixing these issues over the summer, and she is excited for Miller and Starkey to continue the progress.
Both also expressed interests in continuing work on current projects as well as initiating new ones. “There are a number of projects in the hopper,” they wrote. “Two big programs we’ve already been working to support are the Friday Fun Day events and Midnight Breakfast.”
Since their positions are not permanent, Head explained that the college will soon be searching for long-term faculty to hold their titles. “In the early spring term, most likely February, the [Dean’s] Office will be launching two national searches for filling two vacant positions currently being filled in the interim by Carl and Kyle,” she explained. “During that semester, students and other community members will be able to take part in that process and meet candidates.”
For the next few weeks, Miller and Starkey will be holding meetings with students and groups to better understand their needs. They will also be holding Finals Study Break events later this month.