by Ryan Fiore (Copy Editor)
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Bittersweet would not begin to describe January 18 for Lauren Blum and the Penn State community, as staff, faculty, and students bid farewell to the campus’s former Student Life Coordinator. Blum accepted a new position at Point Park University, located in Pittsburgh.
Blum, who served as the Graduate Assistant in the Student Affairs office from August 2010-August 2011, became Student Life Coordinator in September 2011 when the position became available. During her remaining five and a half years at the campus, Blum became the Assisant Director of Student Affairs.
Though Blum is excited about her job at Point Park University, she said she will miss the time she spent working at Penn State New Kensington.
“It was very hard to leave PSNK,” stated Blum. “The memories and friendships I made at PSNK will be lifelong.”
It may have been hard for Blum to leave the campus, but this new chapter in her life is one that Blum knew would benefit her in the long run.
“Just like with every big decision in life, you have to really think about what you want and need to be happy and take that next step,” Blum said. “This position is a great next step for me. It is closer to home, less hours, and more money. My husband and I are looking to start a family and all of these were pros in the decision making.”
As it was hard for Blum to leave her first job, it was hard for staff, faculty, and students to see her go as well.
“Of course we were sad to see Lauren go,” stated Penn State New Kensington senior and SGA President Shannon Josefoski. “She was a huge part of this campus and big part in my life.”
“Lauren was a major part of why I chose to get involved as a student leader early in my college career,” senior Billy Carney stated. “She was just the kind of person that pushed students to be a part of things. Not just that, she cared about everyone, as well. I, like many other students, was comfortable just talking to her about daily stuff.”
Theresa Bonk, Director of Student Affairs, revealed what it was like to see Blum leave.
“It’s always difficult to see a staff member leave the campus, especially Lauren, who was so well liked and has made such a positive impact,” Bonk stated. “Lauren was an integral part of the Student Affairs team. She had a great sense of camaraderie, always ready to take responsibilities that were in addition to her regular job duties. She was a leader on campus and she was a good friend.”
Because Blum was the Student Life Coordinator, her departure has left students wondering whether the events planned prior to her departure will still take place.
“Every activity that we have planned is going to happen,” Josefoski reassured. “They are going to be run by other staff members within the Student Affairs Department, myselg, SGA, and the work-studies in Student Life.”
“We are fortunate to have an amazing Student Affairs staff and others on campus who have pitched in and taken on various events to ensure that all programs continue as scheduled,” said Bonk. “Our Student Government Association and other student leader have also stepped forward to help.”
One of the more crucial events that will still take place is the Spring Break trip to Puerto Rico. “We are very pleased that Adam Robinson and Melba Amador have agreed to co-lead the Alternative Spring Break service trip to Puerto Rico in March,” said Bonk.
The Alternative Spring Break trip, taking place March 3-11, gives students a chance to participate in a “week long service learning experience while being fully immersed in the Puerto Rican culture,” according to the Student Life poster advertisement.
“I believe that we have covered much of the activities and will strive to meet our students’ needs, but it’s very critical that we fill this position as soon as possible,” Bonk stated.
Even though it has been a short time since Blum left the campus, her absence is clearly evident. “It is going to take some time to get used to her not being here,” said Josefoski.
Blum’s new position will be “Assistant Director of Event and Conference Services” at Point Park University.