By Olivia Montes
After five years of dedicated service, former Washington College Associate Director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, Black Student Union Advisor, and Co-Chair of the Hunger & Homelessness Initiative Erneatka Webster left Washington College on March 20.
According to Webster, she found herself following in the footsteps of her colleague and previous WC Director of Financial Aid Dorian Earnhardt when she “saw an opportunity” to make an impact.
In addition to helping ensure changes toward achieving further equality, equity, and inclusivity for current and incoming students of color on campus, Webster said she also wanted to actively empower and encourage all students across campus.
“No matter what, even when I’m walking on campus, I always speak to every student I see,” Webster said. “I want to make an impact on me speaking to make their day or brighten their day. You never know what someone is going through, [and] so I always want to make someone feel valued.”
In addition to advising BSU and leading the H&H Initiative, Webster was also involved in championing students, staff, and faculty members’ calls for campus-wide change. This included supporting and participating in the BSU-initiated campus protest on Dec. 6, 2021 and the responding Letter of Intent.
While Webster said this journey toward achieving justice and representation across campus has not always been easy, she hopes that students will continue to “get up every day and…be proud of who you are, regardless of what anyone says.”
“Community is unity — [and] in order for us to build a community, we have to unite, and it takes all of us,” Webster said. “Change doesn’t happen overnight, but change has to happen, and if we truly want change, we as an institution must have the drive to change.”
Associate Director of Career Development Lisa Moody will be the interim BSU advisor for the remainder of the 2022 spring semester. Additionally, incoming Student Government Association Parliamentarian junior Maegan White, alongside Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Sarah Feyerherm, will be taking over the responsibilities of the Hunger & Homelessness Initiative as they select a new co-chair for the committee.
Incoming SGA Vice President and President of BSU junior Jonah Nicholson said that Webster has been an “invaluable resource” throughout her duration at the College, and hopes that BSU and several BIPOC students across campus will learn from Webster’s example of “fight[ing] for what you believe in and lean[ing] on others when you need help.”
“[Webster] is funny, compassionate, and wise beyond imagination, [and] she leaves a legacy that will forever impact Black students in the past, present, and future,” Nicholson said in a statement on behalf of BSU.
White echoed this sentiment.
“[Webster] was here when the [initiative and] committee was started…[and we] want to continue to support the students the way she did,” White said. “I want to work on keeping that legacy of hers, making sure the committee stays afloat.”
“Even with her departure, she will be deeply missed, but we’re going to continue the work she has done,” White said.
Webster said she will be heading to the private research college Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and hopes to continue to get involved on campus as she did while at WC.
While she said that choosing to leave WC was one of the “hardest decision[s]” she had to make — and will deeply miss the College community, including students and members of the Dining Hall staff — she feels confident that not only BIPOC students will continue to be supported, but that more effective and efficient changes will be made across campus.
“Come here and have a purpose…[and] leave a mark because in life, we get only one,” Webster said.