January 28, 2022
After working at the Landis Center for the past five years, Chelsea Morrese has become the new director of the Landis Center following the departure of civil engineering professor Arthur Kney.
Kney worked with Morrese the entire time they worked at Landis and expressed excitement over his recent promotion. He cited his ability to devote more time to the position than he did due to his multiple positions on campus.
“We have really done this together over the years. And for the last two years I’ve been like, well, Chelsea, you’re going to be the director eventually, so she’s really running the show now,” Kney said. “I teach and am involved in other service activities on campus, so I think the job is best suited to someone who has plenty of time to oversee what’s going on in the center.”
He added that her immense experience and dedication to community involvement would make her well suited for the role of Landis’ manager.
“I think she has great basic training and an understanding of how to organize and run different programs,” Kney said. “I think over time some of these programs that we have in place will be funded through what she brings to the table. She’s just easy to talk to, so the ability to connect with people is really a strength for her.
Landis’ office coordinator, Mary Foulk, echoed Kney’s statements, noting that Morrese’s interpersonal skills and personality are great assets to the position.
“I think Chelsea are going to be a very good leader,” Foulk said. “She’s already shown that she’s connected to the community and the faculty, and that’s going to be key, moving us forward and all working together.”
Morrese noted her own excitement at stepping into the role and the plans she has for Landis’ future. She is excited to bring together different sects of the Lafayette community to centralize community engagement initiatives.
“It’s a priority moving forward to get everyone on the same page working on similar or identical initiatives, because what we’re seeing is that we’re all thinking the same things, but we don’t always all work together,” Morrese said. . “We want to identify the people on campus who are working on these issues, give them the same space to talk about what they’re doing, share these ideas, and find ways to collaborate together.”
Another priority for Morrese that she wants to target in her new position is greater integration of social justice and community engagement.
“It’s so important for us to get more social justice training, so to look at things like access, privilege and resource distribution and incorporate that into our civic leadership training,” said Morrese. “Then our students are trained in that and they can then take those ideals with them when they train in other areas on campus.”
Kney said one of his most distant hopes for Landis is his expansion into engagement with communities in Allentown and Bethlehem, however, he expressed frustration that this would be difficult without a parallel expansion of staff from Landis.
“The president and I would like to see us expand into Bethlehem and Allentown,” Kney said. “So if we have the staff and the funding to do that, that would be another area of growth for us over the next few years.”
However, both Kney and Foulk saw the staffing issue as an obstacle to any kind of great expansion.
“There are a lot of things we could develop, but it requires staff because we’re all already so busy doing the things we’re supposed to do, so I don’t know how much we could develop until we get additional people,” Foulk mentioned.
Overall, Morrese looks forward to expanding and strengthening the relationship between the Lafayette community and the Easton community.
“We are truly the link of the community partnership…between Lafayette and the Easton community. Lafayette is part of the community of Easton. We sometimes talk as if it were a separate entity. It’s not,” Morrese said. “And so, we have resources that we can share and they have resources that they can share. And so that’s what I see myself doing, is facilitating those partnerships.