When most students graduate from the College, or any college for that matter, the last thing on their minds is coming back, let alone to working there. But, such was the case for Lisa Myers, media relations manager at the College.
Myers graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a concentration in journalism and professional writing. While she was able to pursue her chosen field after graduation for a period of time, she returned to the College to take on public relations, a job she found to be as challenging and rewarding as reporting.
Myers lived in Williamstown before she came to the College in the fall of 1987, and she has great memories of her years in the dorms.
“At that time, there were no freshman dorms,” she said. “Back then, (the classes of students) were all mixed together.”
She started her college experience in Travers 10, then known as “the Penthouse,” described by Myers as “a party floor.”
“It was a total culture shock for me,” she said. “I came from an all-girls school in Newfield, with 180 girls in all. I was used to strict rules. (College life) was way more lenient.”
It took a while for Myers to get used to living on a co-ed floor, as well as “people running around at 3 a.m., and pizza 24-7.” She said going home on weekends helped her to gradually adjust to the new freedoms of college life.
“It was pretty much a ‘suitcase college’ back then, too,” she said. “I went home a lot at first, until I found more friends like myself with our own interests.”
She was one of the first to pledge with the newly formed chapter of Chi Upsilon Sigma Latin sorority, when it first started on campus in 1990.
When asked if she had any anecdotes to share from her college days, Myers recalls there was supposed to be a huge food fight in the Decker dining hall on its last open day in 1991. It was an all-girls dormitory back then, she said, notorious for its lousy food. There was going to be a major closing-day send-off in the form of a genuine “Animal House” style food fight. “But I missed it, because I had to be in class,” she said, a fact she still regrets.
Myers sees the campus activities today as pretty much the same as they were back in her day, but with a few exceptions.
“The Greek pledging activities are different now than they were then,” she said. “Especially in the minority (Greek organizations). They used to make them dress alike and walk close together in a line everywhere. They don’t allow that anymore – it’s considered ‘hazing.'”
Myers likes the success of liberal organizations on campus today, such as GUTS, the gay and lesbian organization on campus.
“I’m just in awe how far GUTS has come since then,” she said. “Back then, their banners and flyers would be torn down, and they had to meet in secret, but now it’s more open. I was shocked when I saw their flag in the student center. It’s great that the other students are OK with it.” She recalled one of her first encounters with the group back then. “I remember when GUTS went semi-public with a table in the student center, with buttons and flyers,” she said. “They looked so scared at the time. I went over and took a button, and my friend said, ‘Are you nuts? You’re gonna get killed!’ but I didn’t care.”
Myers also remembered the long, cold treks to classes when fall and winter came. “The many tall buildings created a wind-tunnel effect, so it was especially cold and windy – we used to refer to the campus in wintertime as ‘the Tundra,'” she said.
She shares students’ chagrin over the constant construction, although she is more used to it than most.
“I visited the College several times after graduation,” she said, “and I was able to observe the construction of most of the new buildings, so it wasn’t that much of a shock to me to come back here and see all the physical changes. The construction does cause navigation problems, however.”
Myers remembers several of her professors warmly, especially in her journalism studies. She had high praise for Robert Cole, journalism professor, and Kim Pearson, associate professor of professional writing. She also remembers English professor Jim Brazell’s and gender studies professor Ellen Friedman’s classes.
“I remember how great I was treated by the profs here,” she said. “They’re very warm and caring.”
Myers doesn’t see too much change in the College as far as the overall atmosphere.
“I don’t know if it’s that I’ve changed or that (the College) has changed,” she said. “There’s still the same warmth, the same welcoming atmosphere that was there back then, but it is different, in good ways.” She said the College was, and still is, “a great place to grow, to try on different things.”
Myers wasn’t as concerned about the logo change as most students seemed to be, but was more upset about the change of the name from Trenton State College in 1996. “It was always Trenton State College to me,” she said, “and it took a while to get used to it, but you have to just go with it.”
After graduation, Myers worked at a Franklinville paper, The Sentinel, and then became a part-time reporter for The Trenton Times. She then became a full-time reporter for The Courier-Post.
She said she enjoyed the work, but it took a lot out of her, so she searched for other employment options. During her search, she noticed the opening at the College in the Public Relations department, and decided to give it a try. She began her job in 2000, and has since become head of the department.
“I enjoy it,” she said of her new career choice. “It’s definitely different than reporting.”
Myers is glad for her experiences at the College as a student, and still keeps in touch with several of her friends from those days. However, she said she looks forward to a future at the College as promising and fulfilling as her past has been.