The school year always has its ups and downs; some are expected, and some come as a complete surprise. Sarah Begley, the Assistant Dean of Student Life, left the school for a position at Western Kentucky University. She returned to Kentucky Wesleyan after previously leaving the Admissions Office. While she did not stay long after her arrival, the impact that she had on the student body will carry on through the improvements that she initiated.
Sarah Begley was relatively new to the realm of student affairs when she first walked into her office inside of Winchester Center. She had acquired some experience in Residential Life from a prior position and knew that she wanted student life to work with not just residential students but commuters as well. The Assistant Dean of Student Life deals with many student issues, including housing, advising student led organizations, student conflict, student discipline, and many more. The job takes more than a traditional amount of time. The Assistant Dean of Student Life is expected to be at many after-hour functions that can start at five in the afternoon and end at two the next morning. It is a crucial role to ensure that the students are happy with the condition of the school. This person works very closely with Dean Kramer to make sure the Student Life Office runs as efficiently as possible.
The Residential Life program expanded under Begley’s leadership and experience. A new system to efficiently manage the campus safety was put into effect. Also she hired a new program coordinator to help Resident Assistance schedule and plan events for the campus community. A more extensive training session was given to RAs before the school year began, and she made the change of meeting with RAs bi-weekly meetings instead of once a month.
Greek Life was one of the new experiences that Begley had to learn and manage. It can be overwhelming to have to step in and manage Greek Week, six organizations, and upcoming recruitment, but Begley navigated each situation like she had been doing it for years. Greek Week was significantly different from the way that it was run in past years. Field Day consisted of exciting kickball matches and hot dog eating contests instead of the classic egg toss. The competitions were fun and stimulating through the entire week.
The legacy that Begley left will be remembered by all of the students with whom she interacted. Riley Thompson, a SGA Senator, RA, and SAPB Co-Director said, “Although we will miss her, I am happy that she is doing something she enjoys.” Thompson worked with Begley diligently since Begley first walked on campus, including meeting with her over summer break. Other students have testified that their college experience would not have been the same without Begley. When she made the announcement that she was leaving, soft cries were exchanged in the room. One person was so moved to tell her, “Thank you, Sarah, for making me feel at home.”
The campus community was blessed to have Sarah Begley contribute to the college in the best way that she could. The students thank her, and above all else so do the lives of the future students that will be touched by the policies that she put into place. The attitude of the people that will miss her is a happy one, knowing that she is doing what is best for herself and her family by moving onto the next journey of her life. Sarah Begley has given joy to the students of Kentucky Wesleyan College.