May 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 56°F


Park School senior finds self through student involvement

Throughout her four years at the Roy H. Park School of Communications, senior Lindsey Smith’s experiences, connections, relationships and opportunities can be epitomized by one word: “incredible.”

Despite having studied and interned in London, Los Angeles, New York City and Boston, Smith said she finds herself in her element at Ithaca College. She recalled her first visit to the college in 2009, citing the Park School and the bustling downtown community as her most memorable impressions.

During her stay at Ithaca, she could envision herself embracing the local culture and college environment. But what Smith didn’t foresee was the impact she would have on the college community after choosing to enroll.

Initially a television-radio major with a concentration in production, Smith said she has a hard time recalling all of the organizations she was involved in her freshman year. With some experience in television production from an Emerson College summer program before coming to college, Smith worked primarily on the ICTV show “Sports Final,” among other ICTV shows. She was also a section coordinator for IC LipDub, a choreographed, lip-synced video that was shot on campus May 1, 2011. Though, she worked with film crews and participated in plenty of production work, Smith said she just didn’t think the concentration fit.

Come her sophomore year, Smith said, she switched her concentration to international communications and took on two minors: integrated marketing and communications and economics. This change allowed her to focus on how messages in media change through different cultures, to take more politics classes and to study abroad in semesters to come.

“Having a more well-rounded view on the world was important to me,” she said.

Smith also joined IC Food For Thought, an organization that raises awareness about world hunger and resources regarding families, as a general body member her freshman year. Through Food For Thought, Smith coordinated a coat drive to benefit children in Russia in collaboration with Project Sunshine, a nonprofit organization. Smith is now the outgoing president of Food For Thought.

“I knew I had a love for children,” Smith said. “I knew I was interested in education, but I didn’t understand the power of education until I joined the organization.”

As a freshman and sophomore, Smith held the position of Senator of Class of 2014 in the Student Government Association. While the SGA taught Smith about policies and systems, she said she could not find her niche. Despite this discontent, Smith discovered the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs through her seat on the SGA.

“It introduced me to OSEMA’s culture, the leaders of OSEMA and a place that I really did fit in,” she said.

Smith applied to be a Student Leadership Consultant for OSEMA at the end of her freshman year and was accepted — an outstanding feat, Michele Lenhart, director of student leadership and involvement in OSEMA, said. Smith held the position of SLC the fall of her sophomore year and again both semesters of her senior year.

“She grew so much and has been such a mentor to the new SLCs who came on board this year,” Lenhart said. “She has taken a lead on some projects that have been incredibly impressive and has worked on the same level I would expect a professional staff member to be working.”

To name a few projects, Lenhart said Smith worked on “Leading@IC,” a student leadership session, wrote the “The Ithaca Insider” newsletter this semester and was a peer leader for the leadership weekend retreat.

Smith, who Lenhart said has an ideally balanced personality of both maturity and livelihood, was selected to receive one of 10 Campus Life Awards. According to the award guidelines, students must have been extensively involved in a number of areas of campus life and have demonstrated significant leadership abilities and accomplishments.

“In order to be even nominated for that award, you need to be outstanding,” Lenhart said. “That just speaks to her commitment to the college and to being involved on campus.”

During her junior year, Smith was selected to be the student director of the alumni association board of directors. She worked closely with Students Today Alumni Tomorrow, the college’s student alumni association, to gain a campus presence and helped the organization grow from five to 45 members into her senior year.

“It existed but wasn’t as impactful,” Smith said. “Now it’s closed; committees have been formed and positions have become competitive.”

Carrie Brown, executive director of alumni relations, said she has been impressed by Smith’s organized approach as student director. Specifically, Brown noted Smith’s decision to create two student director positions instead of one for the coming years, and Smith proposed, interviewed, selected and orientated the candidates for the positions on her own. Sophomore Alex Cammy and freshman Lima Hossain will be taking over for Smith come next fall.

“She did a really elegant job of proposing it,” Brown said. “It was a tremendous achievement.”

Brown said she acted as a mentor for Smith throughout her involvement with alumni relations. While Smith continues to search for a job, Brown said she has no doubt in Smith’s future success, though Brown, “couldn’t take one kernel of credit.”

“I know she’s going to find a job and career that she loves,” Brown said. “And what I hope is that she continues to be involved as a volunteer leader for Ithaca College because I think we would all benefit from that.”

As Smith looks to jumpstart her career working with for-profit companies to do cause marketing, something she wasn’t planning on pursuing initially, she looks back on how all her experiences at the college have paved her unexpected path.

“Because of the experiences that I’ve had I am so confident moving forward,” Smith said. “There’s just been so many things that I never would have known if it wasn’t for the support that I’ve had at this college.”