It’s good when we get out of our own way.

#5 in my series of Lessons Learned blog posts
William & Mary students are an unusually talented bunch – I love it when I’m right.

Anyone who’s worked with me for any length of time has heard me say it. A couple of years ago, the sentence was, “Whenever we can, we should put our students out in front.” The words have evolved over time to, “Whenever we put our students out front to talk for us, we win.”

I learned before 2010 that highlighting your assets is a winning strategy. This is just one of those lessons that should be re-learned annually. Students at William & Mary are some of the most articulate and well-spoken young adults I’ve met. I’m consistently impressed when I attend a campus-wide meeting or forum; our students always, always ask the best questions and make the best comments. Hands down.

Several years ago, during my time as a student blogs evangelist on campus, I described the W&M Blogs this way, “If we’d provided them with a script, these students wouldn’t have been writing any differently than what they are independently writing for us. They are already saying exactly what we’d want them to say about William & Mary.”

Here’s a bonus example of what I mean: A 2D Artist Explores Ceramics. Hearing Ryan’s words directly is more compelling than three paragraphs of text describing his work in the W&M ceramics studio.

In 2011, we’ll continue to launch pieces that feature the words, voices, and thoughts of students. I’m right about this. Full stop.

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Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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