2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.
Story by Isabella Mariani ’21
Being president of the Lawrence University Community Council (LUCC) is a hefty responsibility as it is. Now, Oryan Brown ’21 must be a leader and a student while navigating the obstacles of a global pandemic.
The move to the virtual world is a big one for the LUCC. The council relies on communication with students and the LU administration to address important issues on campus. Brown himself is responsible for overseeing communication between the five committees within LUCC. Elected during winter term, he’s also the bridge between university administrators and the student body by which concerns and ideas flow.
Lately, that means video meetings and lots of emails. Lots of emails. It’s tough to have discussions and make sure everyone is heard. But, while it’s not ideal for student government, Brown retains hope.
“We’re still working,” he says, “and we’re going to try to make sure things run as smoothly as possible once we’re all back on campus together.”
LUCC is an important part of Lawrence’s shared governance. Its decisions help shape campus climate for students, faculty, and staff. The council includes elected class representatives and appointed student committee members who speak for and with their peers.
For Brown, the LUCC has been a lifeline despite the communication obstacles.
“LUCC feels like I’m doing something real right now,” he says. “That’s appreciated because everything else feels like a bad dream.”
Brown is one of the 100-plus students experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic from the Lawrence campus this term. The native of Brooklyn, New York, petitioned to be allowed to remain on campus.
Being a student and LUCC president under the tensions of distance learning can be complicated.
“On the one hand, I’m a student who’s trying to get through all this,” Brown explains, “and also as the LUCC president, I’m helping to make sure things will run smooth in the fall. That’s a lot of important work I also have to do. I kind of have to switch between them.”
Distance learning hits especially hard for the math major, who attributes much of his academic success to meeting with other students to work on problems. Plus, he says, losing the classroom experience makes it more difficult to grasp the material.
But the outlook isn’t all bad. Brown finds solace in connecting with family and friends by phone. And LUCC is making strides in the storm. It recently held its first general council meeting of the term, where it passed legislation that will make LUCC responsibilities more manageable for students.
So, Brown keeps the faith, knowing better days are ahead.
“There are these little nuggets of things we’re getting done, and every little thing we get done feels like a major accomplishment given the circumstances,” he says.
Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.