By Ali Eaves, ‘11

Elizabeth Hailand, ’11, is what some would call an overachiever.

At 9 a.m. on a Sunday, when many students are still groggily rolling over in their beds, the sociology major has already made the trek to Boatwright library and set up camp in the quiet section.

It doesn’t feel that early to Hailand. As a member of the University’s varsity swim team, she was used to jumping in the pool at 5 a.m. for morning practice.

Those morning practices were one thing Hailand didn’t miss when she decided to leave the swim team her junior year in order to spend more time on other extracurricular activities.

Hailand has since managed to fill her newfound free time as a Westhampton College Government Association senator, a student liaison to the Board of Trustees and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Next year, she is also going to encourage her class to give back to Richmond as co-chair of the senior class gift.

Being involved in student government makes sense for Hailand because she hopes to work in higher education one day.

“I’ve always been really interested in how the educational process shapes the student and how the student can affect the school,” she said.

When Hailand stopped swimming, she had a minor identity crisis and struggled with not having something to devote her energy to.
 
“I’ve always been someone who gives 100 percent of my time and effort to whatever I’m doing,” she said. “I found that new identity and association in WCGA. It’s become something I’m really passionate about, and I’ve been able to get to know other women who are passionate about the same things I am.””

Hailand partnered up with a friend from WCGA to conceptualize and host an event, the Westhampton Round Table, where students meet with alumnae and talk about their experiences as Westhampton women. They have held the event annually since their first year at Richmond and hope to find a younger student to continue the tradition after they graduate.

Perhaps one of the best Westhampton College traditions, however, is the close-knit and nurturing environment that a coordinate system provides. Through her involvement in WCGA, Hailand has established a close relationship with the Westhampton College administration.

“When I was going through a rough patch recently, Dean Landphair could tell something was up,” Hailand said. “She asked me what was wrong, and I was able to talk to her about everything that was going on. I think that at most schools, it’s not like that.”

Hailand’s continued involvement in WCGA is her way of giving back to the organization that shaped her experience at Richmond.

“Westhampton has really affected me,” she said, “and I want to help shape it so that it can continue to influence other people the same way it has influenced me.”