Liberal Arts student-body president prepares for virtual student engagement

Michaela Harpster
August 20, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student Liam McCall has quite an undertaking as the new president of the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council (LAUC). LAUC, which acts as representatives of all undergraduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts, creates programs and holds events to foster the experience of Liberal Arts students. 

Limited by the restrictions stemming from COVID-19, McCall, a political science and sociology double major, has had to think critically about how to support and unify Liberal Arts students virtually, as in-person events will not be possible. 

“With in-person events looking unlikely at the moment, LAUC plans to engage Liberal Arts students through virtual town halls, discussions with Dean [Clarence] Lang, and so on,” McCall said. “We aim to make direct contact with administrators, professors, and student leaders a priority so that the deflating effects of virtual learning can be mitigated.” 

A virtual "Meet the Dean" event at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 will kick off LAUC’s plans for virtual student engagement. Normally held in-person, this event allows incoming and current Liberal Arts students to hear from Dean Clarence Lang, Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts and professor of African American studies, and to learn about opportunities within the college. Registration is required.

This year’s overarching goal for LAUC is to focus on fostering and maintaining inclusivity, which McCall said “fits well within our broader purpose of enhancing the liberal arts experience at Penn State for all students, especially those who may have been previously neglected.” Specifically, LAUC plans to hold events highlighting women’s rights, which will help promote the College of the Liberal Arts’ theme for 2020, "Moments of Change: A Century of Women's Activism."

As a Liberal Arts student, McCall said he has been positively impacted both inside and outside of the classroom. 

“The instructors within my majors of political science and sociology are stellar, and their teaching has given extensive depth to my university education,” McCall said. “Outside of the classroom, I find that the college is defined by a welcoming environment that applies to both extracurriculars and the students themselves. The opportunity to make an impact through clubs combined with friendly peers has vastly improved my college experience.” 

McCall also highlighted that his involvement with LAUC has enriched his overall Penn State experience. LAUC has allowed him to simultaneously create lasting friendships, foster self-growth, and better the community. 

“I have learned how to effectively administer tasks (along with other leadership skills), but what is more important to me and my LAUC colleagues is the impact we have on our peers,” McCall said. “Events such as 'Meet the Dean,' leadership retreats, mock debates, Snack and Schedule, etc., can all be beneficial to Liberal Arts students, and we hope to continue with this mission in the 2020-21 academic year.” 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 21, 2020