Interview with Lydia Washington
Lydia Washington is one of the leading administrators who are advising and representing the ALANA community in a positive way. Currently the Assistant Director of Student Activities and Involvement Center she supervises 23 Registered Student Organizations (RSO’s) on campus as well as the Student Government Association. She also plays a significant role in organizing special events such as the UMass Haiti Relief Fund and Blackout Weekend.
Washington’s presence and hard work is hardly anything new, in fact, she has been a leader on this campus for about three years now. Starting as a graduate student in 2007 she worked as an advisor for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC).
In the two years that she was an advisor the best part was being able to build relationships with students based on a foundation of trust. Although she is not Greek she still found herself identifying with their struggles as minority students. From finding venues for events to dealing with administration Washington was right there with them.
She even went as far as saying, “If I asked a student to jump off a cliff they would… Knowing I would be there to catch them”. To this day these students still come to her for advice despite her being in a different position.
In general, her relationship with students here at the university has shifted. Being a “hands-on” type of advisor, Washington ultimately believes that in cultivating a trusting relationship with her students will motivate them to do more and cooperate with advisors better. In her first position this was accomplished by putting herself out there and being eager to not only be an advisor but a mentor and confidante as well. However she is learning from her new position that sometimes she has to let students come to her in regards to advising and mentoring.
Washington is not just a woman who is about her business and seizes every opportunity to achieve. She is also someone who encourages others to do the same. In addition to all of the other things she does, she also trains graduate students during their internships thus continuing the cycle of success.
Netha Gill, Website Reporter/Editor