Kris Dreessen, Geneseo's manager of editorial services in college communications in the Roemer house, has already spurred a positive influence in her first four months on the job.
Since coming here, she has been working on redesigning and recreating the Geneseo Scene alumni magazine as well as ENCompass, the weekly online newspaper.
"I originally went to college for magazine writing and I'm a professional photographer," said Dreessen. "I liked the idea of redesigning the alumni newspaper here."
Dreessen grew up in Honeyoye Falls, N.Y., but since then has been all over the world. She went to college at Temple University and Drexel University in Philadelphia. "Then I took a long loop back through Germany, Ireland, Brazil, St. Thomas, and Elmira," she said. "I have really itchy travel feet and I've been to a lot of places."
One of Dreessen's more recent and, she noted, more rewarding travelling experiences was the time she spent in El Sauce, Nicaragua this January with seniors Meredith Cannella and Adam Davis.
"I heard about the El Sauce program and I was really intrigued by it," she said. "I had never heard of a college making a long term commitment to a third world community and having students immerse themselves in programs that they create. Usually study abroad programs are all about us, but in this one students create their own projects that will help a community and then implement them. It's unique and important."
While in El Sauce, Dreessen helped build walls, teach English classes and improve the community's quality of life.
"Nicaragua was one of the best experiences I've ever had," she said. "We got to see what impact we had on the community." While there, Dreessen kept a daily blog including photos and videos from the trip, one of which depicts racing down an active volcano on wooden sleds. The blog can be reached at www.geneseoonscene.blogspot.com.
Dreessen noted that the El Sauce program reflects the values of Geneseo. She said, "I really like the idea of social responsibility and people here seem to value responsibility toward land and people."
When possible, Dreessen tries to improve less developed areas abroad. On her travels she has collected money with her friends and put it toward beneficial projects. She then used the money collected to put malaria screens on houses in the Amazon.
"The idea is that in America, $50 hardly gets you anywhere, but in other places you can pool resources and really make a difference," she said.
Dreessen also teaches an introductory photojournalism class at the Community Darkroom in Rochester, where most of her students are adults. "I really like it because it's not-for-profit so it lets people explore photography at a very reasonable cost," she said.