Hayes departs from Office of First-Year Experience

The fall of 2017 brought about many changes at JSC, including the smoking ban, the ongoing merger with Lyndon State, and new faculty and staff hires. The college also lost some as well, including Coordinator of First-Year Events Matt Hayes.


Hayes’ last day at JSC was the day before new student orientation, in which he was a key staff member. “Going into orientation and orientation leader training without him, that was tough,” said Director of First-Year Experience Margo Warden. “And not just for us. The students were great — the orientation leaders really stepped it up, as did Jennifer, but we missed him.”


Along with helping put together orientations, Hayes was mainly responsible for programming Creative Audience and Common Book events. His duties included logistics, such as reserving space, bringing in new performances, arranging transportation, and marketing the events to the students with posters and word of mouth.


This semester’s events are the last of Hayes’ work at JSC, but execution of the events remain and that is half the job. Warden and Jennifer Stefanski, coordinator of first-year support, have taken on most of these responsibilities. If you have attended any of the Creative Audience or Common Book events, you will have seen one of them handing out reflection cards, introducing speakers and performers, and wrapping up general affairs. In other words, they are the ones orchestrating the events now.


“The downside is that it does kind of stretch the resources of the office,” said Warden. “The upside is that at each creative audience event you get a chance to connect and interact with students.”


Hayes left to take a position at UVM working in the Department of Student Life and his responsibilities over there also revolve around campus programming. According to Warden, he works with a committee of UVM students and coordinates campus events.


“For Matt, when he was here, it was a part-time job with no benefits and he was travelling back and forth three days a week from Winooski,” said Warden. “So now he’s working a full-time job, a five-minute commute from home, and I’m really happy for him.”


The Office of First-Year Experience will be looking for a replacement for Hayes, but before they do, they want to examine the office and take stock of what they really need.


“It’s an opportunity, I think,” said Warden. “Like what are the needs of the office, what’s working really well, how can we look at who we hire or what we hire for to advance the work of the office and to really strengthen our work with students.”


In order to take some of the pressure off Warden and Stefanski, other staff will soon be helping with some of the leftover responsibilities. The Office of First Year Experience will also be reaching out to students for suggestions for next semester’s Creative Audience events.