By Jamie Belfer || Sports Editor & Ruby Van Dyk || Editor-in-Chief
Lauren Packer Webster began her position as the new Athletic Director of Sports and Recreation at Franklin and Marshall on August 1st. During our interview, Packer Webster described what drew her to F&M and her main goals for the F&M community.
Before coming to F&M, Packer Webster worked as the Athletic Director at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. She described how it was very similar to F&M in that it was a small, private, liberal arts college with multiple divisions of sports. After 12 years, she found her new home at F&M.
While Packer Webster would love to meet with the F&Mily in person, she has been working hard to connect with as many people as possible over Zoom. So far, she has met with many athletic teams and student leaders of clubs and organizations. Generally in these meetings, Packer Webster says she is working on being present and listening to others, as she hopes to establish many cross-campus relationships and act not only as an athletic director but also as an administrator. Packer Webster is looking forward to having in-person meetings and attending events and club meetings in the future.
When discussing her goals for F&M athletics, Packer Webster focused on “the three Cs: Care, Connect, and Create.” She connects these three Cs, along with a second set of Cs including “Competition, Classroom, and Community.” Using these core values, the athletic director shared that she would like to foster the development of student-athletes by helping them extend their identity beyond athletics. To accomplish these goals, Packer Webster is actively working with members of the Student Athletic Leadership Council (SALC).
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Packer Webster acknowledges that communities must make a team effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus among sports teams. To combat the spread, the athletic department is working with both the sports medicine staff and the medical staff to create the best guidelines for practices. The athletic department is also working to educate coaches and student-athletes on safe practices to prevent the contraction of COVID. She remarked that the athletic department is in alignment with the college regarding the rules and guidelines of the academic pledge.
With many new protocols in place and the cancellation of fall sports, Packer Webster is also working especially hard on the recreation side of athletics. While she told us she understands that there are not a lot of options for competition or contact sports, she has been working with others to create robust programming for different opportunities for wellness.
In addition to being more creative in the recreational aspects of the college, Packer Webster understands that the athletic department still demands further improvement. To address recent issues with racism in athletics, Webster explained that the athletic department is making progress. Currently, the athletic department is working both with Vice President Hathaway and an outside consulting group for education and training for coaches, administrators, and student-athletes. She said she believes the athletic department “is continuously working towards progress, and trying to do so with respect.”
The message Packer Webster stressed throughout her interview was that she believes her job goes further than athletics, and she is working to develop cross-campus relationships with other clubs and organizations. Her ultimate goal is for the athletic department to become a “leading campus partner” that works to build relationships with others and create a “more unified and stronger F&M Community.”
Junior Jamie Belfer is the Sports Editor. Her email is email@example.com.
Senior Ruby Van Dyk is the Editor-in-Chief. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.