Staff, alumni see two sides of college life

The college experience from a student perspective and from a staff member's is vastly different. Many employees in various departments at Geneseo, however, have been able to experience both. It seems to be a popular option - according to the Collins Alumni Center, 106 alumni are currently working for the school.

For many, the opportunity for a job at Geneseo came from contacts they had made as a student. George Gagnier, the current sports information director and graduate of the class of '88, graduated as a biology and secondary education major. His position as manager for the men's basketball team led to his lifelong career.

"I wanted to stay local after graduation," said Gagnier. "I couldn't find a teaching job, but an assistant coach position opened up."

The transition from student to staff member wasn't very difficult for Gagnier.

"It was nice going from doing all the grunt work as manager to doing administration work and helping run practices with the same group of guys," he said. "Socially, it was a hard transition. It's a challenge for any young coach, or young professional, to make the change from student to staff member."

Gagnier can recall a few differences in Geneseo life from his time as a student, among them, the presence of on-campus bars in the basement of Letchworth Dining Hall and in the current location of the KnightSpot, then known as the Hub.

"The drinking age didn't become 21 until I was a junior," explained Gagnier. "It makes sense that they wouldn't have bars on campus now, though."

Jim Clar, associate director of admissions and a member of the class of '89, had also planned to be a teacher after graduation. Clar was offered an internship with Admissions, however, and found his niche within the department.

"I just sort of fell into it," he said. "It was blind luck, I guess, but I love it."

When comparing Geneseo students from his time as an undergrad to those of today, Clar said, "I think the core individual that goes here is still the same: generally a middle-class student who values education."

However, Clar noted that a marked difference between the years is an larger focus on master's and professional degrees.

"People were a little more on the fun side and able to do more outside of class," said Clar. "Then, having a bachelor's degree was a big deal and very marketable. Now, for many, it's just a stepping stone."

For Livingston Hall Residence Director and Late Knight Supervisor Ben Delozier, life as a student isn't very far in the past. Delozier graduated in the fall of '05 and began working for the college soon after.

Delozier noted that even in his short time as a staff member, he has noticed differences in the average Geneseo student, a change that could be attributed to Geneseo's rising academic reputation.

"The caliber of students here is even higher than before," he said.

Though he didn't change location during his switch from academic to professional career, Delozier noted that it was somewhat different working for the school after experiencing it as an undergrad.

"Being a staff member here, you see more stuff behind the scenes and you gain an appreciation for things you had as a student," he said. Since his work is concentrated around Livingston Hall and the Union, "going up to the academic area is like going back to school for me."

"I won't remember Geneseo as I left it after graduation, but instead as a staff member," Delozier said. "You can't go back to the place you graduated from."