If you are reading this from anywhere on the campus of Shippensburg University, you have benefitted from the efforts of Emily Javitt. But there is a decent chance you have no idea who she is.
You may have seen her popping up throughout the CUB, swiping your ID at an APB event or helping your University 101 class navigate the ropes course. Javitt never wanted to land in a job that keeps her behind a desk, and since landing at SU in 2019, she has been on her feet ever since.
Javitt first worked in leadership and co-advised the Activities Programming Board (APB), then shifted to focus just on leadership with programs like the Lighthouse Academy and Ropes Course in 2021. In the summer of 2022, Javitt’s title shifted again, and she moved to full-time programming to manage APB, Big Red’s Cupboard and Community Engagement. And as of late September, Javitt is now the Interim Director of Campus Life.
“I like bouncing around now because it got me to a job I think I’m really going to enjoy. I liked my job before I took the interim role, but bouncing around is really hard, especially when you’re trying to make fundamental change and improve cultures and policies,” Javitt said. “I always felt like I was a little bit behind because I was never able to get ahead.”
Javitt knew a bit about bouncing around before she landed at SU. Javitt studied at Rosemont College as an undergraduate student, a place she describes as “the island of misfit toys” because it is a small private school of under 1,000 students. After realizing that she did not want to further her education in in theology and religious studies, Javitt used her network to explore other options and ended up pursuing Student Affairs and Higher Education in graduate school at Penn State University, an institution nearly 100 times larger than Rosemont.
After applying to dozens of jobs in 2019, Javitt found Shippensburg.
“I needed a job and it was a good area for where I wanted to be. The size was perfect because I had had the extremes: less than 400 and 40,000,” Javitt said. “They both had their advantages and I loved them dearly, but I think there are a lot of advantages to the size that Shippensburg is. Once I saw a job open, I was like, ‘heck yeah, that’s what I want.’ I don’t regret it.”
Other than its size, Javitt has a few other thoughts on what makes Ship “it.”
“Staff and faculty who want to be here, who want to help students: that’s really special, and I don’t think you get that everywhere,” Javitt said. “I think there’s a lot of places with larger campuses where they can have a very siloed, logistical position where they might not even see a student, but they work in student affairs. That’s not really an option here. You have to have relationships with folks here to succeed.”
In her new role as Interim Director of Campus Life, Javitt relies on relationships with many folks as she now oversees the CUB as a building, assists with the operation of the information desk, contributes to planning for campus-wide events like Homecoming and continues to advise APB.
“It all kind of comes together into this weird position,” Javitt said.
Javitt’s favorite aspect of every position she has had at SU is the roster of coworkers from across campus she gets to collaborate with.
“My best friend forever is Brigitte Allen in Fraternity and Sorority Life. I work with them in a supportive way any time I can help them with their events. But that’s my ride or die,” Javitt said.
Javitt also praised Sahara McGrath and Miller Hoffman from the PAGE Center, the faculty she has gotten to know through working with UNIV 101 classes and fellow CUB managers Travis Houtz and Amy Podoletz.
Javitt gave a special shout to Associate Director of Recreation Dylan Curtis. She made sure to point out he did “absolutely not” beat her each week during their summer tennis rivalry.
“I’ve gotten to meet some really awesome folks, and that’s one of the reasons why I love student affairs. We would not be able to do this without everyone,” Javitt said. “I love collecting people. Other staff members will tell you that I say everyone is my best friend.”