Carolina Hernandez

Getting Back to the Lehigh We Love: Looking Forward to Community

With widespread vaccination making the resumption of campus life possible, the “Getting Back to the Lehigh We Love” series highlights perspectives on what our community most looks forward to. Carolina A. Hernandez, Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Community Service Office, shares.

What activities did you miss?
This year, I missed the little things. The Community Service Office has an incredible student staff. On a typical day, the CSOers would be in the office every day working hard (or taking some much-deserved study breaks). Students would hang out in the front of my office and crowd around a computer to watch something funny on YouTube, work hard on planning upcoming programs, and just chat. That frenetic energy and physical closeness were beyond missed this year. While the CSO did keep its doors open all year, due to COVID we were limiting the number of students and it was a much more focused energy—although we did sneak in a few baseball games and Netflix shows. I cannot wait for students to be able to visit and hang out—and return to our large-scale programs with community partners.

What are you excited to do more of?
This year we were challenged to re-imagine our programming. We were able to offer our flagship initiatives in a virtual setting through our partnerships with the South Bethlehem Community Schools. We were able to re-think ways for our students all over the country and world to stay engaged and committed with our office and the South Bethlehem community. Our tutoring program was led by our graduate assistant, Gaby Montes, and we were able to continue to provide safe and educational opportunities for our South Bethlehem kiddos. Lastly, we were able to challenge ourselves and others to have critical conversations regarding racism, education and community. This was done in partnership with both Lehigh and community organizations. Monthly conversations were held and much-needed space was shared for continued learning and growing. 

-Carolina A. Hernandez, Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Community Service Office
What are you looking forward to most about returning to Lehigh in the fall? Share your responses with