Yi-Ching Ong Ph.D. ’10 will return to Stanford in July as the brand new government director of the Haas Middle for Public Service, succeeding Tom Schnaubelt, who served as government director from 2009 to 2022. Schnaubelt left Haas in July to function a lecturer and senior advisor of civic training at Stanford’s Middle on Democracy, Improvement and the Rule of Regulation.
In her position as government director, Ong will lead group technique, oversee operations and handle the division of administrative duties amongst different obligations. Multiple thousand Stanford college students discover service by the Haas Middle’s programming and neighborhood connections every year.
Haas has not had an official director since Schnaubelt left, however a number of people at Haas have stepped as much as handle numerous duties usually dealt with by the chief director to bridge the hole, in response to Schnaubelt.
Explaining what her within the position, Ong wrote in a press release to The Every day that “Haas is extensively recognized and extremely regarded within the discipline of civic larger training for the breadth and depth of its choices, and so when this chance got here up, it was extraordinarily compelling to use.”
Ong is at the moment the Senior Affiliate Director of Experiential Studying of the Tempo Middle for Civic Engagement at Princeton College and Director of Service Focus. There, she has overseen greater than 300 public service internships and fellowships per yr and spearheaded the creation of Service Focus, now a flagship civic studying program that connects undergraduate contributors’ coursework with hands-on expertise over the summer time.
“My expertise main these applications has allowed me to function a connector and a catalyst for college, employees, college students, alumni and neighborhood companions,” she wrote. “It has been fantastic to help all of those stakeholders and suppose with them about how we are able to produce and apply data in additional accountable and efficient methods, in direction of a extra simply and resilient world.”
Regardless of the hundreds of miles between the coasts, Ong will likely be on acquainted floor when she arrives, given her years at Stanford learning microbiology and immunology as a Ph.D. scholar.
As Ong prepares for entering into the position, she wrote that she “need[s] to verify [she has] an opportunity to listen to from all stakeholders as a part of envisioning the way forward for Haas.” Wanting ahead, Ong has recognized political polarization and technological change as “areas of problem the place [she] suppose[s] Haas can play an essential position.”
“An essential aspect of that is understanding what it means to responsibly harness, anticipate, and reply to technological developments within the service of this mission,” Ong wrote. “And we’re additionally challenged to create extra inclusive communities and to organize our college students with expertise in dialogue throughout distinction which are wanted greater than ever.”
Shaped in 1985, the Haas Middle was initially situated at Owen Home on 552 O’Connor Lane. Its present constructing has been round since 1991 and was designed to seem like a home, in response to Schnaubelt, who referred to as it a “dwelling” for college kids. He stated that he nonetheless hears from alumni who reminisce about sleeping on the sofa on the third ground and spending time with mates. “The enjoyable factor about it,” Schnaubelt stated, is the “counter-normative” environment that he stated would change all through the day as college students got here out and in the door.
By the point night time rolls round, “You’ll see individuals within the totally different convention rooms they usually’re all planning to save lots of the world indirectly,” he stated.
Pupil curiosity in public service alternatives fluctuates throughout time, in response to Ong, though at a base stage, college students persistently “yearn to make a distinction.”
“The previous few years have been a time of deep disruption, which have introduced much more consideration to divisions and inequities in our world … We’re challenged as establishments of upper training to acknowledge and handle this, and to assist our college students find out how to take action as properly,” she wrote.
Traditionally, the Haas Middle has built-in “publicity work” into New Pupil Orientation, which might entail actions like packaging meals or occasions like a talking engagement or a Cardinal Service honest for connecting with numerous social impression organizations on campus, Schnaubelt stated. Roughly 800 college students would take part on this exercise, however the ordinary programming has not taken place at that capability since earlier than 2020.
Ong, too, famous that folks in larger training are nonetheless navigating the ripple results of COVID-19 in quest of “a brand new equilibrium” after experiencing sundry disruptions lately.
Disruptions however, Ong wrote that she is aware of college students have many competing calls for on their time and that she is keen to listen to from the neighborhood in regards to the challenges college students have confronted in making an attempt to allocate time for service.
Tanner Christensen ’24, who sat in on interviews and displays through the hiring strategy of Ong as a member of the Nationwide Advisory Board of the Haas Middle, started his undergraduate profession in 2020, when scholar instruction and actions had been successfully distant throughout the board. Nonetheless, by the Haas Middle’s Frosh Service Liaisons Program, he stated he was capable of obtain mentorship and study in regards to the rules of moral and efficient service.
“Throughout that program, they actually do emphasize how service could be for anybody, no matter what profession you’re going into, or what fields you need to enter, and the way service can actually assist you to give again to communities,” he stated.
In the summertime following his first yr at Stanford, Christensen participated in a Cardinal Quarter with a nonprofit group in Oakland, offering reentry companies to the incarcerated. Right this moment, Christensen is a peer advisor at Haas, a place he has held since his sophomore yr.
Inevitably, elements of the Haas Middle will change with new management, Christensen stated: “I’m excited to see the methods wherein the middle grows, expands and is extra accessible to extra college students.”