The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office of Student Engagement and Leadership recently welcomed a new staff member to its team.
Although he’s mostly known as “New Brandon” by most Greek students at the moment, Luke Lawson said he is excited to fulfill his role as the Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Leadership of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The nickname is in reference to the person who held the position prior to him, Brandon Palmore, but Luke said that he doesn’t mind the nickname Greek life students bestowed upon him.
His first job after graduation was with Walt Disney World Resort, where he discovered his love for working with the younger generation.
“Once I got back to Indiana University, I got a position in student affairs and things of that nature,” Lawson said. “I really enjoyed my time in students affairs; I love, love, loved working with the students. I made a career change and went into career services and couldn’t stand it, so I realized that my passion was with students.”
Following his Disney World position, Lawson would get a job at Evansville University in Indiana; he then he would get a position at his alma mater, Indiana University, soon after.
Indiana University is where Lawson began his Greek Life experience as a student. He had no plans of joining fraternity life until approached by Sigma Phi Epsilon, a fraternity that wanted him to help them recolonize, which means to reestablish a chapter at their university.
Lawson soon found himself at the end of his college career with multiple roles under his belt and a new role as the chapter adviser for his own chapter of SPE.
Once he was interviewed at UL Lafayette, he knew it was where he wanted to be.
“This job was the only job I applied for down here, and I ended up getting it. I’m so excited to be the voice of reason and advocacy for the students here.” Lawson said.
Lawson isn’t the only person excited about his new position here.
Alana Marcello, Coordinator of Student Engagement and Leadership, said Lawson’s personality and demeanor are what makes him stand out.
“Working with Luke feels like working with someone I've known for years, except only having met him through the hiring process just a few short months ago,” Marcello said. “His personality and demeanor are exactly what this fraternity and sorority life community needs, and he has quickly become the perfect addition to our Office of Student Engagement and Leadership team. I am excited to watch him excel in this role and watch our community excel as well.”
Lawson will be working with all four Greek councils on UL Lafayette campus: Panhellenic, National Panhellenic, Interfraternity, and Multicultural Greek.
He’s already met with multiple students on the board of their respective councils, and he already has plans in the works. He said he’s hoping to expand the Greek Councils’ presence on campus and further the Greek system.
“At the core of it, I see my job as being a sounding board and kind of an advocate for all the Greek students,” Lawson said. “Anyone who has an affiliation of a fraternity or sorority can come to me and can say ‘Here are concerns with either my organization or my council or the Greek community as a whole,’ and taking those concerns and turning them into action items and making things happen.”
He also has plans in the works to get the four Greek councils (Panhellenic, National Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, and the Multicultural Greek Council) to collaborate on future projects and events together.
“I think one of the things I really, really want to do, especially early on, is bring all four councils together and have meetings together so that we are all making decisions as one community rather than as four separate councils who are all a part of a community,” he said.
Despite the many things he’s looking forward to, Lawson did say there are two things he isn’t looking forward to.
“The heat, maybe,” he said. “It’s a little bit hotter than Indiana and we haven’t even hit the hottest part of it yet. Maybe all the weight I’m going to gain from eating all of the really good food.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Luke to the Ragin' Cajun family,” Heidie Lindsey, Associate Dean of Students, said. “We are fortunate that Luke brings with him a significant amount of professional, full-time experience working with college students, organizations, fraternities and sororities, and student events. I am confident that he is a great fit for our Student Engagement and Leadership team.”
Lindsey believes that he will soon be able to make a name for himself as Luke rather than New Brandon. Not that he minds the nickname, however.
“Call me the new Brandon, call me the new Erica, but don’t forget my name is Luke.”