Megan FallonDirector of Campus Activities and Dewar Union
What is your position at Hartwick?/What career path did you take to your position?
I am the Director of Campus Activities and Dewar Union. I started my professional journey as an advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence working for local crisis centers in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. I stumbled into higher education when Dartmouth College hired me as the Assistant Director for the Center for Women and Gender where I worked for the next four years while attending graduate school also at Dartmouth. I left Dartmouth after being recruited by New York University Abu Dhabi to help build their Student Life division for the school's inaugural year. The common thread in my career path is that I have always done work that challenges me and that I really enjoy doing. I don't just come to work to do a job, I come to work to make an impact.
What brought you to Hartwick?/Why Hartwick?
I strongly value the co-curricular experience of a liberal arts education. Hartwick's mission and values-integrating liberal arts in practice was incredibly exciting to me. Many schools talk about the co-curricular experience and service learning, but to have these things so clearly stated in the school's values stood out to me. It's so important to know how the academic experience applies to the real world and how it impacts you and your community. Integrating theory with practice is an essential part of that equation.
Where are you from?/Where did you go to school?
I'm from Endicott, NY. I went to the State University of New York College at Potsdam for Political Science and Dartmouth College for a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies. While at Dartmouth, I also was accepted into a competitive study abroad program at Oxford University where I studied Human Rights.
What does "theory into practice" mean to you?
Theory into practice takes me back to my first course in grad school called "Women, Prison, and Performance." As part of the course we worked with a group of women at a local correctional facility to develop a play based on their emotions about being imprisoned. It was an incredibly powerful experience for me. One of our readings was Paulo Freire's, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This book completely changed my way of thinking about people, power, and how those two things connect to situations, in particular, to the women in the prison. This is what theory into practice is about; making these shifts, or ah-ha moments that challenge people to think differently because they've seen how the theory plays out in reality.
What about your work energizes/excites you?
By far, working with the students. I love helping students through all sorts of challenges – academic, personal, club-based, event-based, anything. The best moments are when I go to a student event that I advised them on and I see how well they are executing it and helping each other out. When you see all the hard work students put into something really in action, it's just wonderful.
How do you describe our students friends and family?
I would describe them as friendly and personable. Whenever I have the opportunity to meet students' parents, I always try to muster a funny childhood story about the student.
Have you won any awards/special honors/recognition?
Last year I won the Campus Event Planner of the Year award sponsored by College Power Performers and Superior Programming Magazine. But to be honest, the best honor is seeing the students I've worked with in action.
What Hartwick activities are you involved in - beyond your staff position?
I help with Welcome Weekend, Family Weekend, Orientation, the SOAR Program, Move-In Day, Student Showcase, Campus Theme, all sorts of fun things. I really like working with the Pine Lake Institute when I can. I appreciate the work they do to raise awareness and dialogue about sustainability. This past spring they did their Run, Bike, or Walk to Work program and it really helped motivate me to both exercise and use less fuel.
What is your most valued Hartwick experience?
I would have to say my work with the student groups that I advise. At the start of the year, I meet with all of the groups and we work together to develop a strategic plan. The students discussed their group's strengths, areas of growth, their goals, and events they wanted to plan for the year. Seeing these groups of students work to achieve their goals and sometimes even exceeding them is incredibly rewarding. For example, WRHO, the campus radio station, wanted to increase the number of DJs and offer free DJ services to other student clubs and organizations. They more than doubled their membership and have been an incredible resource to students and staff planning events that need music. These are the kind of moments I value the most. The follow-up meetings where we revisit the group's strategic plan and I hear the students speak proudly and excitedly about their accomplishments.
What is your most important contribution to Hartwick?
I'm the Chair of the Programming Committee on campus. We're charged with collaboratively planning and developing programming for the student body throughout the academic year. I really feel like my work with this group of programmers has been a great contribution to Hartwick. Events like Yule Ball, Laser Tag, and The Vagina Monologues are essential to having a vibrant campus community. I'm proud to have worked with the programming team to be purposeful in our programming efforts so that we engage different parts of the campus community. It's a really great group with which to work.