Jon Leight

PROFILE: A Full-Circle Leadership Opportunity

Jon Leight ’23, a junior psychology major, is now responsible for orchestrating the community events he grew up attending.

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Christa Neu

Jon Leight '23

Jon Leight ’23

When Jon Leight was a child, he often visited Lehigh’s campus and attended community events with his family and his brothers, who also attended Lehigh. Now a psychology major and student coordinator in the Community Service Office (CSO), Leight has come full circle, leading the planning of the community events he attended as a child. 

“Being [on the third floor of the Clayton University Center] as a child and seeing the giant rooms—it feels much smaller when you're [the one] putting it together for some reason,” Leight reflected. 

While the rooms might seem smaller now that he is older, Leight’s perspective has shifted in more meaningful ways as well. The CSO, he said, opened doors to his personal growth and development while giving him, as well as other Lehigh students, the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the community. The mission of the CSO is to provide students, faculty and staff “a readily accessible doorway through which they can explore the rewards and benefits of providing service to the community.”

This past October, Leight co-led the planning of the annual Spooktacular event, which drew 284 SouthSide children and families outdoors for “spooky mazes,” games, crafts, and food (dirt cups made with chocolate pudding and candy, Leight’s favorite as a kid, were naturally a must-have).

lehigh university spring fling

Spring Fling is one of several events hosted by the Community Service Office bringing together people within the university and South Bethlehem community.

He is now in the thick of planning a spring event called “Wonderful World of Sports,” which will offer fun field-day-type activities on Goodman campus for families and children in South Bethlehem.  Leight also supported the planning of Spring Fling, held on April 2, which featured a scavenger hunt and other fun community activities on the Clayton University Center front lawn. The events are designed to connect people within the university and South Bethlehem community. It’s a special experience for Leight, who experienced these events as a child and now has the opportunity to play a role in facilitating them—especially because, he says, COVID impacted his initial campus experience as a student.

“I haven't had a Spring Fling since I was a child personally because I haven't been on campus for a spring semester even though I’m a junior,” he said.

lehigh university spring fling

The Lehigh and South Bethlehem community enjoying Spring Fling together. 

In addition to helping strengthen partnerships and connections within the South Bethlehem community, Leight said the CSO offered him a strong support system throughout the pandemic and helped him develop an interest in one day working with children as part of his career, potentially in the realm of student psychology or teaching. 

“[Working with the Community Service Office] has definitely been a highlight of my school experience, I would say, because the people are just like, fabulous,” he said. “I never was the type of person in high school to want to run events … so joining the CSO and being pushed to delegate roles … Carolina and my friends taught me how to be a leader a little bit more.”

Carolina Hernandez, the director of the Community Service Office, said: “I distinctly remember Jon as a little kid helping his oldest brother, Josh, move onto campus. From that day back in 2007 to now, Jon was always present at Lehigh events. Whether it was running away from the Haunted Houses at Spooktacular and eating multiple dirt cups, or serving as my junior assistant at the Great South Side Sale, Jon has always been a CSOer. It is incredible to see him now leading our flagship programs and doing so with such integrity to ensure that the kiddos joining us have the same experience he did.”

For the summer, Leight is helping to plan a PreLUsion event, a pre-Orientation experience for new Lehigh students getting acquainted with the Lehigh campus. 

Learn more about the Community Service Office and opportunities for student involvement. 

Learn more about PreLusion, which provides first-year Lehigh students an opportunity to explore a topic of their choice and engage with students and staff members who share a similar interest.

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Christa Neu