Newell parts with SGA position

The summertime on campus can be delightfully slow. Summer school attendees are leisurely strolling to class on a mostly quiet campus, but the Office of Student Engagement is in full swing.
The Student Government Association, Division of Student Affairs Leadership Ambassadors and orientation leaders are all in overdrive and are fully committed to welcoming new students.
For Elizabeth Richardson Newell, this routine is all too familiar-a feeling she will soon experience at a larger scale as she has accepted a position at Louisiana State University as the Assistant Director of Greek Life.
After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi with a math education degree and a Masters in higher education, Newell accepted a  position as the Southeastern Coordinator for the SGA. Her leap of faith paid off due to a tip from her sorority sister, current Director of Student Engagement Cherie Kay Thriffiley.
“It was the summer time,” Newell said of her first day, “and it was a big change, new state, new everything. My second day was interesting because there was an orientation. I knew nothing about Southeastern except what I had researched, now I am at an organizational event trying to recruit students to be part of the SGA, and I have students and parents asking me all kinds of questions that I cannot answer. It was terrifying at the time, but I really kind of jumped in head first.”
After two years as the Coordinator of SGA and two years as the Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Newell is moving on to larger endeavors.
Senior communication major and DSA Leadership Ambassador Claire Salinas will miss Newell for her dedicated and humbling nature. Becoming involved on campus is important to a student’s personal development, and Salinas said Newell “was a big part of why I became involved in leadership at Southeastern. She is willing to help student leaders work through their problems, even though she has a lot going on and could be doing anything else.”
Newell’s love for higher education and experience as a former president of Kappa Delta Sorority has benefited her tremendously. Her personal college experience was very motivating.
“I was very active in leadership roles, but I had very little contact with the Greek Life office there,” said Newell. “When I was given this opportunity, I vowed I would have an open door and get to know the student leaders on a much more personal level. I had a wonderful experience [in college], and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing because of some of the professionals that I met there.”
The Office of Student Engagement challenges students to be empowered both personally and academically through engagement on campus.
“A student has to be well connected in order to best benefit themselves,” Newell said. “Our motto is to serve the student.”
The reason for the change of jobs comes with becoming a newlywed and time spent away from her family. Once Newell married, she and her husband made the choice to live in Baton Rouge for “the city feel,” she said, and being on campus at her new job will help her more easily complete her Ph. D program in higher education, which she has already completed one semester of.
“For me, it’s the next step professionally,” Newell said. “I am equal parts sad to leave here and excited to go there.”