Lakeisha Jackson builds partnerships with off-campus landlords and addresses issues residents may have with neighbors who are SU students. She looks out for students as well by collaborating with organizations that provide training on tenant rights.
Q: Your work sounds as though it covers plenty of territory.
Lakeisha Jackson: I'm very much a generalist. My role includes collaboration with public safety, commuter and transfer students, housing and residential life for students who live off campus and helping them as they develop independence and integrity. Last fall we invited 50 off-campus landlord partners to campus to tell us more about their properties. In April, we had a housing fair on campus for landlords to present their rentals to students and just over 100 people attended.
Q: What does developing independence and integrity involve?
Lakeisha Jackson: I assist students so they appreciate their roles and responsibilities as residents of the community. I help them understand that a beer can on a neighbor's lawn may have an impact on SU's reputation in the community. There's a great need for this as the university expands into the community and more students live off campus. I help by negotiating conflicts that arise.
Q: Can you give an example?
Lakeisha Jackson: There was a student who hosted a party that got out of hand. There were 100 people on her front lawn and she didn't know how to handle the situation. When noise and alcohol prompted neighbors to call Public Safety and Seattle Police, my office was alerted as well. In the end, the whole experience had a positive effect for the student. She wasn't a bad person, yet she was responsible. As a consequence, she had to take part in a Good Neighbors' Workshop, write and hand deliver letters of apology to all her neighbors and complete five hours of volunteer time. Ultimately, learning how to be responsible is a lifelong process. I do my part to build a better awareness of what that involves.
Q: How did you come to play this role?
Lakeisha Jackson: Before coming to SU, I spent 5½ years working for the College Success Foundation, a college access pipeline for underserved, low-income students. I'm now working on a master's degree in student development administration in the College of Education. After that, I hope to get my doctorate in sociology. I have a diverse group of mentors who are encouraging me with my professional goal: to become a university president.
This article will appear in a forthcoming issue of Community Connections.