Sterling Ambrosius ’22

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

Leadership at a distance has its share of challenges and rewards. Sterling Ambrosius ‘22, who is fulfilling duties as chair of the Student Welfare Committee and as a student member of the Lawrence Pandemic Planning Team (LPPT) from their home in Milwaukee, knows that well.

The Student Welfare Committee (SWC) serves the student body as a resource for accessibility, sustainability, transportation, wellness, and more. Ambrosius became chair in their first year at Lawrence and has stayed with it. But Ambrosius is quick to credit fellow SWC members with the committee’s successes.

“Every year my committee impresses me,” Ambrosius said. “I want them to know their work has a positive impact.”

Visible impact

Chances are, you see that impact every day on campus. For one, in 2018, the SWC implemented and expanded gender-inclusive facilities in common spaces. The committee branched off into the Gender Inclusive Facilities Task Force in order to focus energy on the project. For Ambrosius, a gender studies major, this project was well worth the extra effort required to complete it.

“It was a labor of love,” they said.

Then, when Ambrosius was a sophomore, the SWC made improvements to the operation of the Shopping Shuttle, a vital transportation service for students to access Appleton amenities such as Woodman’s and Target. This year, the shuttle service was expanded to include Appleton International Airport, a 15-minute drive from campus. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the change; the shuttle enables students to travel to the airport without relying on ride-sharing with other students.

Pandemic safety

Being part of the LPPT, meanwhile, has allowed Ambrosius to see up close the importance of good communication with the campus community. Efforts to reach all students regarding COVID safety can be complicated.

“We’ve tried to get more engagement, but it’s difficult,” Ambrosius said. “There’s something disconnected about screen-to-screen connection. I want to give everyone my undivided attention, but I can’t.”

However, working with student welfare concerns in this challenging environment has brought out strength and creativity in many students.

“Though it’s a lot of work, I see great ideas come to light,” Ambrosius said. “And I get to see them from start to finish.”

As we repair and grow from this disconnected environment, Ambrosius encourages students to connect with the campus community. Having recently been reappointed as SWC chair for their senior year, Ambrosius looks forward to future projects that will keep positive changes alive at Lawrence.

“You don’t need to run as a candidate, but I think you should know what’s going on,” Ambrosius said of getting involved. “Especially for marginalized students. It’s important to get involved in communities where you will feel safe and supported.”

Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Office of Communications.