September 2019: Will Rush
If you’ve ever planned a big campus event, you probably know Will Rush, the Assistant Director of Campus Activities. He runs the Student Activities Resource Center, also known as “the SARC.” One of the first things you might notice about Will is how enthusiastic he is about what he does. He said, “at risk of being a cliché, I really do love coming to work everyday.” I asked Will what he loves about Vassar, he reflected that his work is to build a sense of place and community, both on campus and beyond. Being able to say hello to strangers as he passes them on the sidewalk reminds him of his hometown in southern Virginia. He praises how people at Vassar are “passionate about what they’re working on—they work hard and are very invested. The best environment to work is where people want to make things better.”
He wants people to know that “In the SARC, my job is to listen, empathize, and work together to figure out how things can be possible, successful, and safe.” As an example, Will mentioned working with students from Vassar SEED (Students for Equitable Environmental Decisions) on the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20th. Students and administrators shared information and worked together, and the event was a huge success, with as many as 500 people participating over the course of the day of action. As a practice, he loves to ask student leaders “What would you like this event to be in a perfect world?” and working together to calibrate and execute those ideas according to what’s possible.
What else should you know about Will? He’s a native Spanish speaker, and he always loves to be a translator and resource for people across campus and Poughkeepsie. He was a translator just last year at the EPI event, Connecting Our Communities, an opportunity for local high school students to come to Vassar and explore options in higher education. I asked him what brings him joy, and Will immediately brought up his love of hot sauce (stop by his office to see quite the impressive collection), and his ways of staying connected with loved ones. He shared that every single day he speaks to an old friend who lives in Nashville, while they both drive in to work. A self-described “phone call person,” Will stays connected with loved ones, listens with empathy, and finds a sense of home wherever he goes.
Each month in our newsletter, we seek to highlight the work of someone on our campus (whether they be staff, student, administrator, or faculty). Any member of the Vassar community can be nominated, even if they are not yet involved with EPI. If you have someone you'd like to nominate to be featured in a future Community Spotlight, email Cecilia at firstname.lastname@example.org.