Native Marylander Returns for ‘Dream Job’ with OSA

Jillian Obermeier works with new OSA director Heather Morris to plan SEB calendar for the 2012-2013 academic year. Morris returns to Maryland, where she grew up, to begin her role at Washington College.
Photo by Gary Fenstamaker
By Elizabeth Ransom
Senior Writer

College students cannot live on intellectual sustenance alone. Someone has to host the parties. Fortunately for students here, Washington College puts the Office of Student Activities (OSA) in charge of fostering a lively social scene. The new Director of Student Activities, Heather Morris, started work in the OSA on Aug 13.

Born near Lynchburg, Va., Morris’s family moved to Maryland when she was seven. She attended Lynchburg College, majoring in sociology and minoring in human development and learning. In 2011, she completed her Master of Education in Educational Leadership at the same school.

Involvement in student activities helped shape Morris’s own college experience. As a freshman, she felt alienated at first.

“I went home every chance I got, and I was not connected to the school in any way. I finally became involved in our Student Activities Board, and my college experience completely changed. My favorite part about my being in this environment is helping students navigate college, finding what they’re really interested in, and running with it.”

Morris comes to WC from a position at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, where she was the assistant director of community life and student programs for one year.

“I was drawn to Washington College for several reasons. First, I have been away from Maryland for quite some time, and I was really looking for a way to come home closer to my family. Second, I truly value the small school experience,” she said. “I was extremely successful in college, and I attribute that to the relationships that I created with faculty and staff across campus and the availability of my professors outside of the classroom.”

The OSA, located on the first floor of Hodson Hall Commons, operates the Student Center and advises and funds the Student Events Board (SEB). It offers programming support to all clubs and organizations on campus.
“Students should know that the Student Activities Office is here to serve the needs of every student. If you don’t quite know what to do when you’re not in class, or if we aren’t planning events that you like to attend please let us know your suggestions. We’re here for you, and want to help you make the most of your time at WC.”

Morris notes that the OSA and the SEB have planned a full week of events to greet new and returning students alike. Welcome Back Week, which runs Aug. 27 through 31, will include a day of free Rita’s, an interactive game show called “Think Fast,” a toga party, and a Back to School Blowout on the Hodson Green. The OSA will also hold an SEB interest meeting.

Morris says she loves Chestertown so far and looks forward to becoming familiar with both the town and the college community.

“I was also looking for an institution that put students first in all of their decision making,” she said. “I think that this position here at Washington College was my dream job for this stage in my life.”

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