Rachel Fisher (Jason Howell)
Rachel Fisher

Jason Howell

Community service director talks about resignation

Rachel Fisher reminisces about favorite programs and memories over last 7 years

December 2, 2015

Since the Office of Student Community Service was created in August 2008, Rachel Fisher, the director of student community service, said that she has had the honor to lead the office while watching it grow into a national leader and key partner in educational and co-curricular experiences.

Fisher will be stepping down as the director of student community service at the end of the semester.

She has worked with many student leaders, faculty, staff, community members and civic leaders.

The decision to step down, Fisher said, was one of the hardest decisions she had to make, she is excited to continue on and explore the new opportunities.

“I feel in some ways I’m a living Robert Frost poem, you know, like ‘two roads diverged’ and I know this path and it’s beautiful, but I have got to explore this other one,” Fisher said.

Fisher said that she will miss Eastern, but she has the opportunity to focus on her consulting and speaking opportunities; she also said she is pursuing a doctorate in organizational behavior.

“It’s an opportunity for me to expand the work that I’ve actually done here at Eastern,” Fisher said. “To talk about how to motivate people how to realize that change isn’t about money, change is about human passion and to get to work on that and to hopefully take that to a broader scale.”

Marcia Shambaugh, the office manager for student programs and fraternities and sororities, has worked with Fisher since the office opened.

Shambaugh said she enjoyed working with Fisher and that she liked Fisher’s sense of humor and enthusiasm.

“She spreads that to all of us and makes us all feel like life is happy and the job is worth it and that’s the way we come to work every day,” Shambaugh said. “It’s been very meaningful working for her.”

Fisher said one of the things she likes most about being the director is working with different people.

“I enjoy working with people, energizing, helping reach for the ah-ha and amazing, wonderful ideas and being witness to the great positive impact motivated people can create and make.” Fisher said, “At times it can take away your breath.”

Fisher also said she enjoyed every day of the “amazing opportunity,” including working with individual students and student organizations and non-profit agency members and leaders.

Charleston Mayor Brandon Combs said his first meeting after he became mayor was with Fisher, and Combs said he is shocked at the news of her stepping down.

“I was kind of shocked because she does such a fantastic job,” Combs said. “It takes someone with a lot of energy and a lot of passion to do that.”

“Each interaction has produced a greater energy and passion,” Fisher said.

Seeing students connect to their academic expertise and their personal interests with different places in the community was a refreshing feeling Fisher got while working in the office.

She said a lot of her favorite memories also deal with meeting the students who walked into the office with the goal to make a difference and being able to connect and engage students to discover their passion and connect it to the opportunities in the community.

Fisher said she has many memories and favorite programs while she has been at Eastern.

She said each programs offers a different and unique partnership between students, learning and the community.

Fisher said she does not know who will take over as the interim director of the office, but she said she knows the office will continue to do great things while they work with the “communiversity.”

Fisher has worked with different people while she has been at Eastern and that she wanted to say thank you to the people she worked with.

Fisher said she also wants to thank the community and non-profit leaders she has had the chance to work with. “I am in your debt,” Fisher said.

“It has been an amazing experience and I owe so much to EIU and the amazing faculty, staff and students,” Fisher said.

 

Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]