Feature Stories Campus Events

Laura Beth Lavette: Welcoming First-Years with Open Arms Meet Laura Beth Lavette ‘17, a senior with a passion for introducing first-year students to W&L.

“Our community is not limited to the confines of campus. Instead, our affection for each other and this school is limitless, extending across the nation and across generations.”

Meet Laura Beth Lavette ‘17, a graduating senior with a passion for introducing First Years to W&L

First-Year Olympics, perspective tours, carnival night, ThinkFast game events – as a First Year, the days and hours of Orientation Week come and go in a blur. You’re trying to soak in endless amounts of information and remember countless new names while quickly being ushered from one event to the next and propelled from one “hall bonding” activity to another. Despite the fast pace and packed schedule, W&L’s Orientation Week is unique in that it promotes the fostering of friendships, introduces students to the surrounding Lexington community, and connects First Years to upperclassmen who can offer invaluable advice.

As a freshman, I was unaware of how much effort was invested in making our “O-week” experience the best it could possibly be. The duties of the First-Year Orientation Committee (FYOC) do not end on the first day of classes. In fact, FYOC is composed of a highly involved group of students who work year-round to plan and prepare for the incoming freshmen. With well over 100 members this past year, we organized everything from the Freshman Facebook page to the swing-dancing lessons on campfire night.

During my transition from a First-Year student to a member of FYOC, my enthusiasm for our student body and Lexington’s welcoming community reached novel heights. This newfound enthusiasm pushed me to apply for a more rigorous and involved position in hopes of finding my niche in college. And that I did. As a general co-chair of FYOC, I had the opportunity to become engaged in every detail of the First-Year experience, which reaches far beyond Orientation Week. For two years, I was able to develop leadership, organizational, and communicative skills that I plan to carry with me through the rest of my life endeavors.  

As a graduating senior, I do not think my time and energy at this school could have been spent more effectively. Orientation week is a pivotal moment in college students’ lives: You develop your first friendships, choose your first classes, and finally get to explore what it means to be independent. As I became more actively involved in FYOC over the years, rising from a member to co-chair, my appreciation for our school and its traditions seemed to grow infinitely. W&L is a home to so many students and faculty, a place that welcomes each new freshman with open arms. And although I am leaving the comfort of the only school I have known for the past four years, my experiences in FYOC have confirmed that our community is not limited to the confines of campus. Instead, our affection for each other and this school is limitless, extending across the nation and across generations.

If you know a W&L student who would be a great profile subject, tell us about it! Nominate them for a web profile.

A little more about Laura Beth

Birmingham, Alabama


Poverty Studies

Extracurricular involvement:
– Student Health Committee
– General Co-Chair of First-Year Orientation Committee
– FeelGood Member
– Kappa Alpha Theta Member
– Student Contact for Promise Committee
– Student Affairs Intern Work Study
– W&L Research Assistant
– Co-Founder of Little Generals

Why did you choose your major?
While a biochemistry major encourages my investigative and analytical side, a poverty minor has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and explore the abstract components of social science.

What professor has inspired you?
Professor Pickett. He knows how to challenge me both inside and outside of the classroom, pushing me to reach my full potential.

What’s your personal motto?
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

What’s your favorite song right now?
Chasing Clouds” by MÖWE

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Sushi Matsumoto, can’t go wrong with sushi!

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
Take classes that are different…you never know where you’ll find your passions.

Post-graduation plans:
Medical school

Favorite W&L memory:
When my housemates and I spent hours on end at the local antique shop, carefully picking a compilation of knick-knacks to scatter throughout our “home” for the next two years.

Favorite class:
“Science in Art: Technical Examination of 17th Century Dutch Paintings,” a class that traveled to the Netherlands for Spring Term to study the scientific component of art preservation.

Favorite W&L event:
Parent’s Weekend, something that I think is truly unique and reflects W&L’s close-knit community and welcoming culture.

Favorite campus landmark:
Gilliam Dorm Ruins (RIP), where I spent my freshman days and where I met some of my closest friends.

What’s your passion?
Running, something I can do anywhere, at any time, with nearly anyone.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m addicted to the show “MasterChef.”

Why did you choose W&L?
Even though I always knew I wanted to attend a smaller liberal arts school, when I stepped onto W&L’s campus I was lucky enough to get “the feeling,” something that every prospective student hopes to experience when they find the perfect fit. I had to come here.