In The Light- Vanessa Weller

Alexis Apfelbaum

Vanessa Weller is a young woman whose entrance into a room makes everyone’s day a little brighter. With a sparkle in her eye and a perpetual smile on her face, Weller has challenged Colgate to live up to her expectations of what a University should be: a place dedicated to service and learning, and whose very sense of community – both on campus and in the surrounding town of Hamilton – is its most important and cherished attribute.

An economics major, Weller, who went to London with the Colgate economics group, attests that economics can be anything but boring. She works for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which allows her and about 30 other Colgate students to file tax returns for low-income families in Madison County. “I’m so proud of the Economics Department,” Weller said. “No one would think that the department would be so community service oriented, but we actually have some of the largest service groups on campus.”

Weller is also a member of the Student Advisory Board, which interviews new professors who would like to teach at Colgate. It’s important to her, as a student, to seek specific qualifications in prospective faculty. “They should be open to students and be ready to involve them in their research so that students begin to feel comfortable with these incredible professionals.”

Catching Weller outside of the classroom is an easy feat. She is a Sidekick, a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a Girl Scout Troop Leader for the last three years to a group in Whitesboro, N.Y. “It’s important to stay involved in the community,” Weller said, citing herself as a “kinda local girl” who fondly remembers her time as a scout. “It’s incredible how much these girls believe in themselves. They have so much self-esteem, they can do anything and they know it.”

Weller is also a student athletic trainer for women’s lacrosse. In previous seasons, she could be seen stretching out Raider field hockey and volleyball players.

For Weller, it’s all about pursuing a wide range of activities. “Take advantage of every opportunity available at Colgate,” Weller advised. In doing so herself, she has grown as a student, a leader, a service-provider and a friend. A self-described “career-service frequenter,” Weller hopes in the future to “move to New York City and nail a job on Wall Street.” With her natural charisma and leadership capabilities, there is no doubt Weller will go far.