RWU Lays off Scott Yonan

Scott Yonan has been a friendly face on campus for decades. He graduated from Roger Williams College in 1977, was a resident assistant (RA) and worked at the university for years after in the Intercultural Center, President’s office and in Student Life. He was voted the “Unsung Hero” of the Student Life office at the end of 2018. Due to reorganization within the Student Life department, just a year before Yonan planned to retire, his position was eliminated and he is no longer with RWU.

Vice President of Student Life John King said that Yonan’s position was eliminated as part of a regular review of staffing and costs. 

Yonan was the assistant to vice president of student life and director of special projects. He oversaw the Commuters in Action club, working closely with commuters and making them feel like RWU was their “home away from home.”

“Scott Yonan made every commuter, both in the club and not, feel as though they were important, mattered and belonged on campus,” said Amelia Demelo, president of Commuters in Action. “He made sure that we had a voice on this campus and that we were heard.”

Yonan also created and advised the campus’ Eco-Reps, a club to bring awareness to sustainability. Along with the club, Yonan helped facilitate RWU’s annual Earth Week. He helped put together a week’s worth of eco-friendly events, including Earth Fest, a campus favorite.

“He is irreplaceable and the Eco-Reps will really miss him,” said Eco-Rep Ryan Lustyik. “He is a passionate environmental steward and cares deeply about every person, plant and animal at RWU.”

Sustainability has grown to be an incredibly important part of the university, something Yonan took great pride in with the work he did with students.

“I spent two years trying to find what I wanted to get involved in, and it wasn’t until meeting Scott Yonan that I was able to find my passion as an Eco-Rep,” said junior Joey Sullivan. “Scott was a leader, role model, mentor and above all, an incredible member of the RWU community that will be seriously missed.”

In large organizations like RWU, there is a constant review of positions and expenses related to budgets and allocation of resources, including resources necessary for the university overall.

“Scott Yonan has been a valued, long-serving contributor to campus life, especially through his commitment to sustainability, as supervisor of the Eco-Reps program, and advisor/advocate for our commuter students and Commuters in Action,” said King. “ He will certainly be missed and the University thanks him for his contributions and wishes him well.

CORE of Stonewall Chris Higgins, who was a student commuter during his time at RIC, will be the new advisor for CIA. Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing and Facilities Manager Timothy Valton will advise the Eco-Reps.

Yonan’s message to the RWU students is to take full advantage of the college situation, get to know as many people as possible, learn about and embrace people’s differences and try new things.

Many people of the RWU community will truly miss Yonan’s friendly face around campus and all of his passion and dedication to the university.