“It was great,” said Laidlaw, “It primarily served to establish contact with student leaders and others interested in community service and started the process of sharing the ideas that will help shape the future of the Community Outreach Program.”
“I’m looking for input and feedback from students and student groups [to understand] how the Amherst College Community Outreach Program can best serve the entire Amherst student body,” added Laidlaw, who encouraged students to come into his office and share their ideas with him.
Laidlaw arrived about two weeks ago from Northeastern University where he worked for the nonprofit Center for Community Health Education, Research, and Service. His main duty was brokering partnerships between Northeastern and community health centers. Laidlaw has worked primarily for non-profit organizations.
Having lived in the Pioneer Valley between college and graduate school, Laidlaw sees his career move as “a great opportunity to be a part of a very vibrant intellectual community.”
Laidlaw has two primary goals for Outreach this year. First, he said that he would like to build more mutually beneficial partnerships with community based organizations. Laidlaw also said that he hopes these partnerships will give students opportunities to get involved, to learn about their communities, and to give something back while providing local organizations with much-needed assistance. Second, he said that he would like to work on the visibility and accessibility of the community outreach office.
Although he has only been here for a few weeks, Laidlaw said that the College is already living up to his expectations. “I’m excited to be at Amherst and am looking forward to meeting Amherst students and helping them to explore all the opportunities that the community has to offer,” he said.