The picture of dedication and University of Miami spirit is standing in the rain to save part of the banyan tree that fell during Hurricane Katrina. Keith Fletcher was just the man who did this in an attempt to preserve decades of tradition.
Fletcher, or Fletch as he is known to most, has recently taken on a new position as the Director of the Butler Volunteer Services Center (VSC), but he is certainly no stranger to the students at UM.
He first came to Miami in June 2002 and began working in the Department of Residence Halls as a Residence Coordinator.
“I came really because the residence life piece was here and it was a fabulous opportunity,” Fletcher said. “I had the chance right out of grad school to supervise a group of individuals, have a pretty big role in discipline and the opportunity to work with outstanding live-in faculty.”
Since then, Fletcher has become a well-known figure on campus, becoming involved in other aspects of student life such as leadership and volunteer programs. He is genuinely concerned with helping students become as involved as possible to make the most of their time at the University.
Fletcher’s decision to leave Hecht Residential College and move to the VSC came last spring when the position opened. Until then he had planned to continue being an RC.
“Believe it or not, I kind of miss the discipline and all the crazy stories that you hear being associated with a freshman dorm,” Fletcher said. “I also miss the RAs because they were an incredible group of student leaders.”
While he undoubtedly loved his job as an RC, Fletcher is enthusiastic about his new position.
“I’m excited about the support I’ve received from the students and the support I’ve received from Dr. Whitely and Richard Walker to go forth and make the changes [to the VSC],” Fletch said.
His job entails overseeing the four main components of the VSC, which involves individual and group placement in service environments, advocacy for a variety of social issues, programming and service learning.
With new leadership comes changes and Fletch has a number of goals for the VSC. One of the primary focuses will be to enhance the service learning aspect of the program to allow students to obtain credit for service activities in an attempt to make volunteering an essential part of their curriculum and life. Other endeavors include remodeling the office, restructuring the coordination of sponsorship, marketing and re-establishing an international service fraternity on campus.
“We want to increase the affiliation people feel with the VSC and become more of a presence on campus,” Fletcher said.
Fletch’s ambitions for the VSC are a direct correlation with his expectations of UM’s students.
“I think what is really special here is the students aren’t satisfied with being mediocre,” he stated. “They aren’t satisfied with just meeting what is expected of them. They are always trying to reach their own best potential, whatever that may be.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.