Get to Know HFC: Mandy Earl
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HFC Student Activities Associate Mandy Earl has spent the bulk of her career in higher education.
“I left briefly, but I really missed working with college students. I felt called back to higher education,” explained Earl.
An alumna of Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint, Earl earned her bachelor’s degree in sports studies from Central Michigan University. She went on to earn her master’s degree in kinesiology from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. Earl lives with her husband and son in Canton.
Earl began her career as the intramural coordinator at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She held this position for two years before becoming the assistant director for intramural sports and later the assistant director for club sports at the University of Michigan Department of Recreational Sports in Ann Arbor. She was at U-M for nearly six years before becoming the banquet sales director at the Northville Hills Golf Club, a position she held for nearly three years before coming to HFC in 2016. In her current position, she reports to Director of Student Activities Cassandra Fluker.
Making a positive impact on students
“College is such a wonderful time for young adults to really grow and develop into who they are going to be,” said Earl, speaking about the College's nearly 50% of students who are considered traditional college age. “This may be the first time that they are away from their parents and making decisions and taking risks on their own. This is an opportunity for us as faculty and staff to really make a positive impact on their lives. It is such an honor when a student has chosen me to be one of their trusted resources on campus and share with me and asks me for advice on their decisions. It brings me a lot of joy to see the amazing things our students do while on campus and years after they have graduated.”
Some of how Earl spends her time:
- Organizing on-campus and off-campus volunteer opportunities for students, faculty, and staff
- Coordinating more than 200 volunteers, resulting in nearly 800 community service hours/academic year
- Collaborating with the University of Michigan–Dearborn to plan the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service volunteer event
- Managing the Hawks’ Nest Student Food Pantry, which has assisted almost 700 students to date with nearly 2,000 visits per year
- Creating and maintaining the Student Activities Office’s Instagram and Facebook accounts to increase promotion and awareness of its events and services
- Coordinating and implementing nearly 50 events each academic year, including leadership workshops, voter registration and education events, Black History Month events, Welcome Back Days, the Health Fair, and various other social activities
- Working collaboratively with other departments on campus, such as the Office of Campus Safety, Counseling, and the Office of Student Conduct and Compliance to offer events to increase awareness about mental health, domestic violence, and alcohol and substance abuse
- Coordinating with off-campus groups to secure guest speakers, food, equipment, and entertainment for events
- Co-advising to the National Society of Leadership and Success
“I think it is so important for students to discover the many aspects of college life. Academics is the main reason for them to be in college, but there is also so much value in the learning that takes place outside the classroom,” said Earl. “Students will develop the soft skills that employers are looking for by participating in the extracurricular activities on campus. Students who participate in our programs and join a student club learn these skills (i.e., communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving, etc.) by working with other students, faculty, and staff. I love that I get to help introduce students to these opportunities and to also watch them grow during their time at HFC.”
Being more creative
Earl spoke about the differences between a community college and a 4-year university.
“It was definitely an adjustment coming from a 4-year university to a community college. I think the main difference was at a 4-year university, students were always on campus. They took classes on campus. They worked on campus. They lived on campus, so they were always looking for things to do on campus,” explained Earl. “At the community college level, more students come to campus for class and then leave to go home or go to work. It has been a challenge to keep students on campus to participate in the extracurricular programs outside the classroom. I think that it has forced me to be more creative in how we do our programing and also how we promote our programs. It is so rewarding though, once we get a new student, they realize the many opportunities the College has to offer outside of the classroom.”
For Earl, the best part of her job is also the most challenging part: The students.
“They keep me young and inspire me to keep challenging myself and growing in my personal and professional life,” she said. “It can be so frustrating to see a student who is so full of potential not living up to that potential. There is only so much we can do to motivate and guide them, and then they need to realize their capabilities. Once they realize and start living up to and going beyond their capabilities, it is so rewarding.”
She also talked about how she likes working at HFC.
“I love that the campus is smaller, and I have had the opportunity to get to know faculty and staff from departments all over campus,” said Earl. “In all my years in higher education, I have never worked on a campus where I knew so many people in different departments. I definitely haven’t worked at an institution where the president knew me by name. I have really appreciated how welcoming and willing to help all the faculty and staff have been toward me.”