The following story is the second in a four-part series on the student leaders of Franklin & Marshall’s College Houses.
The search for the right college takes a different shape for everyone. Some students find the right fit when they visit their first campus, and others when they visit their 10th. For Amanda Loh ’13, the 25th time was the charm.
Loh, chair of the Schnader College House Assembly of Peers, took a long and winding journey before making a decision to attend Franklin & Marshall College. Her college search included visits to 24 institutions, from the heart of New England to the Carolinas.
“My mom was very determined to make sure that I saw a broad spectrum of places,” says Loh, the oldest of three siblings and a native of Bergen County, N.J. “I had not heard about F&M until I got an invitation to visit from my friend, Kate Paradis ’12.”
Loh’s visit to see her high-school friend turned out to be the closing argument on her tour of colleges. “I remember getting out of the car and thinking it was such a nice campus,” Loh says. “I connected with everything people said. That visit with Kate changed everything.”
Loh’s energetic, broad-based approach to her college search was a sign of things to come. At F&M, she plays an active role in a multitude of organizations and committees, including her sorority, Alpha Phi; the Office of Student Academic Affairs; Putting it Together in the Community; Brothers and Sisters in Christ; and F&M Cares.
As chair of the Schnader Assembly of Peers, Loh continues her longtime affiliation with student government. “I’ve been involved with student government since fourth grade,” she says. “If I didn’t like something, I wanted to fix it. Being in government is a great way to get a feel for what F&M is about.”
Loh says this is a particularly interesting time to lead the Assembly of Peers, as 2010-11 marks the final academic year in which Schnader will exist as a College House. Weis College House will effectively serve as the new home for residents of Schnader when it opens next year. Along with members of the Schnader executive board (Vice Chair Elena Lopez ’12, Secretary Molly Thompson ’13 and Treasurer Jared Gorin ’13), Loh is brainstorming ideas for the new College House. Loh also helped to plan the landscaping for the new House as a member of the Weis College House planning committee.
Regardless of which building she and her fellow residents call home, Loh is enthusiastic about F&M’s College House system. She recently helped to develop Siblings of Schnader, a new initiative designed to connect first-year students with upperclassmen prior to their arrival on campus.
“Amanda’s high energy is contagious,” says Kathleen Triman, professor of biology and don of Schnader College House. “One of my roles as faculty don is to facilitate Schnader College House student initiatives. It’s been a challenge for me to keep up with Amanda, because she has so many new ideas. We are off to a great start this year.”
The next challenge for Loh might be deciding on a major. She takes the same, broad-based approach in the classroom as she did with her college decision.
“I’ve taken courses in philosophy, government, American studies and business,” Loh says. “I didn’t realize that I wanted a liberal arts environment until I visited F&M. I love everything about this school.”