Pictured: Sam Young, Student Activities Coordinator. Photo courtesy of Young.
By Luke Gair
The walls appear empty and the space itself feels newly inhabited upon entering Sam Young’s office, but away from the desk, he has busied himself with welcoming the student body back with events such as the “Foam and Glow Party” and others. He may be settling into life on the Mountain, but his ambition to engage the campus has proved prominent in only the first few weeks of the term.
Young, an alumnus of the University of North Georgia (UNG), joined the Office of Student Activities this semester as the Student Activities Coordinator. As some of Sewanee’s unsung heroes, the office works to bring exciting events to the Domain throughout the year while collaborating with other organizations including the Board.
Assistant Dean Lauren Goodpaster shared that the office is “beyond thrilled to welcome Young to the team,” going on to add that “[he] brings an incredible amount of energy and passion to student programming and student leadership development, and we know he is going to make a big difference here.”
In his own time as an undergraduate student, the most impactful aspect of his career was student involvement. Being heavily involved on campus allowed him to foster a positive relationship with the Assistant Dean of Student Activities, and during these experiences he developed “a drive to figure out what [his] goals [were].”
He emphasized that this surfaced a realization that he could “make an impact in so many different ways by being involved and by being engaged with people on campus.”
It was in his senior year at UNG, where he served as president of the student activities board, that student activities and higher education became a passion and a priority. Although already familiar with the “mountain town” atmosphere after living in Dahlonega, Georgia, his transition to a liberal arts environment was enhanced through “learning from the students… about their different experiences and how that led them to Sewanee.”
Ultimately, this has assisted him on how he can “best help [the students].” He highlighted how the smaller student population also makes the ability to impact the community relatively easier.
Before making his way to campus, he briefly worked in a corporate marketing office that honed his ability to create interesting content that caters to any demographic. “[This] helped me and will continue to help me empower and advocate for students and student organizations,” he added. This experience also led him to strengthen the ability to devise the best campaigns for certain events and discern as to how the office can best cater to an audience.
Young was fairly acquainted with Sewanee when applying for the position, as his partner Lucas Crossland (C’18) had already been on-campus for several years. He noted that throughout the application process he familiarized himself with the institution through “getting [himself] engaged with the culture.”
When prompted as to where he hopes to see the Office of Student Activities toward the end of the year, he stressed that he hopes for “the office and [his] position to be as visible as possible.”
“I want everybody to have a space on campus,” he explained, “wherever that may be and be able to discuss their interests or engage with others. It’s all about visibility.”