A community connector

Alumna Lisa Klein, ’97, center, helps move students into residence halls shortly after she started at UWL this fall. Klein is working as a partner with the community on behalf of UWL as the new community engagement coordinator.

New community engagement coordinator, UWL alumna working toward university-community connections

My name is Lisa Klein. I am excited to be the new community engagement coordinator at UWL. I started in my position Aug. 1, and I’m eager to start working as a partner with the community on behalf of UWL.

UWL is my alma mater! I’m a 1997 graduate with a mass communications major and a minor in English. During my final semester on campus, I had an internship with WKBT-TV News 8. I was hired immediately after graduation and worked for News 8 for 20 years as an anchor, education reporter and producer.

Q & A:

• Why did you apply for the job? What sounded exciting about it?

I loved my career in journalism but saw the community engagement position at UWL as an opportunity to use my skills in a new way. Public service is what drew me to journalism and it’s what has now drawn me to UWL. I’m excited to help our campus and surrounding communities work together and thrive.

• Why do you think it’s important for the university and community to connect, and how can we strengthen those relationships?

Speaking from my personal experience, the university’s connection to community businesses, like News 8, led me to a fulfilling career. I did not intend to stay in La Crosse after graduation. Well, here I am! La Crosse has been my home since 1993. I am an example of how the university-community connection can lead to jobs for students who might otherwise move out of the area to find work.

I also hope to enhance the student experience on campus. I will work to help build connections for faculty and staff who are interested in offering internships, undergraduate research, service-learning and volunteer opportunities to students. But that is just the beginning when it comes to partnerships. There are so many opportunities in our community to build bridges and work collaboratively on projects that can help raise up the surrounding area while providing meaningful opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in their field.

• How do you envision yourself working with UWL alumni in this role?

There are many UWL alumni who are always looking for ways to give back to the university. I would like to invite those alumni to consider partnership as one of those opportunities. If alumni find themselves in a position to partner on a project or provide a meaningful experience for a student, my door is open!

You can contact Lisa at: 101C Cleary Alumni & Friends Center, lklein@uwlax.edu or 608.785.8153.