Campus and Community


"Change Begins With Us"

When it comes to alums Marc and Lisa Young, actions speak just as loud as words

Ashlee Weidman | Campus and Community | July 28, 2020

Photo by Natashia Nicole Photography 

Inclusivity and diversity are important values shared by Marc ’13 and Lisa ’17 Young, an inspiring UWSP alumni couple who are using their voices to influence change within the Stevens Point community.

Within a year of transferring from a community college in Minnesota, Marc had started working in the UWSP Admissions Office as an administrative assistant. As a student, he also served as an outreach specialist for the office, and completed an internship as a university ambassador.

“Admissions and recruitment became of interest to me during my undergraduate career when recognizing an opportunity to assist in diversity recruitment,” he says.

Marc and Lisa first crossed paths on campus when Marc was a senior and Lisa a first-year. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in interpersonal and organizational communication, Marc applied to and received offers of employment from a handful of UW System schools. He chose to take an admissions counselor position at UWSP for several reasons—not the least of which was that it allowed him to stay close to Lisa. The couple married in 2018.

Today Marc is the director of admissions and recruitment at the university. Under his leadership, admissions and recruitment staff have made it a priority to “create access to higher education obtainable for all students." To help accomplish this goal, the team undergoes inclusivity and diversity training regularly, and reviews their communication and recruitment activities with an eye toward reaching a more diverse and inclusive prospective-student audience.

For his efforts, Marc recently received the Inclusive Excellence Award, presented by the UWSP Alliance of Multicultural and Diversity Organizations. The award honors individuals who have made significant efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable Stevens Point community.

“The award embodies much of what we do in admissions and recruitment,” he says. “Our team takes an intentional and very deliberate approach to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students to learn and grow at UWSP.”

“Marc is so driven when it comes to work and his personal life,” says Lisa. “He works so hard, he is incredibly loving and he leaves such an impact on the students he meets. He is such an inspiration.”

When it comes to hard work, Lisa is no slouch herself. She is the owner and sole proprietor of Lisa Young Photography, a business she built from the ground up after Marc gave her a Canon camera as a graduation gift. The business specializes in photographing “intimate weddings and elopements.”

Recently, Lisa took part in a project that was near and dear to her heart. She photographed Black Lives Matter protests in Stevens Point following the death of George Floyd.

Photo by Lisa Young Photograhy

“It is important for me as a small-business owner to get involved in matters that affect me, other small-business owners, the customers I service and what I stand for,” she says.

Lisa used those and other shots to highlight a Black Lives Matter page on her business website, which also features lists of abundant resources for those who want to turn words of change into action. Lisa also created a fundraiser selling T-shirts, designed by herself, that were emblazoned with the motto “Change Starts With Us.” One hundred percent of the proceeds (in excess of $2,000) went to the national racial justice organization Color of Change.

Wanting to expand their efforts further, Marc, Lisa and their friend Jen Wicklund co-organized and moderated a town hall meeting via Zoom. Dubbed “Race 101—Social Justice and Change,” the online discussion was designed to initiate conversations in the community about race and diversity.

“Our initial goal focused on creating a safe space to learn, listen and pose questions without the fear of judgement, and to provide resources and action items for change,” Marc says.

Lisa emphasizes that organizers wanted participants to leave the conversation “with tools and resources to continue their journey of growth.”

The discussion received so much positive feedback that a second installment, “Race 101—Education” was held on July 15. Marc and Lisa once again moderated the discussion, which was led by guest speakers from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Photo by Lisa Young Photography

Marc and Lisa encourage others in the university and greater Stevens Point communities to welcome more inclusivity into their lives. In his workplace, Marc would like to see an emphasis on equity and diversity as core values that inform decision- and policy-making on the UWSP campus, as well as an “equitable representation of diversity among faculty, students, staff and other university personnel.” Lisa has high hopes that local businesses will include people of color in their advertising campaigns and reaffirm their commitment to inclusive hiring and promotional practices.

Most of all, they would like people to continue civil dialog about race and diversity, even when it is uncomfortable to do so. In that regard, they hope to lead by example. Marc vows to use his platform as admissions director to promote the cause of inclusivity. Lisa takes an even broader view of her role in these challenging and historic times.

“To be a part of history is an incredible feeling,” she says, “but to leave my mark—I call that success."

Jeanne Nagle contributed to this story. 


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