Published: Aug. 24, 2021

Get to Know is a series highlighting community through the unique perspectives, interests and involvements of our faculty and staff members at CU Boulder. In this issue, learn more about Crystal Lay's corner of campus.

Crystal Lay

 Get to know Crystal Lay, director of residence life in the Division of Student Affairs

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Without saying your title, describe who you serve on campus and what you do.

I am very fortunate to work with an amazing team of individuals who work very hard to make the CU Boulder campus a home for over 10,000 occupants. This includes students, faculty, staff and families. The team includes many student leaders, professional staff and student-employees who are excited to provide a great experience through programs, connections to resources and crisis management.

Beyond your unit, what is a campus group or effort you are involved in or want to highlight?

I have the opportunity to serve on this year's Campus Common Read Committee, which consists of several campus partners. This builds upon the previous Buffs One Read program sponsored by the University Libraries and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), with the new goal of specifically engaging our incoming first-year students and returning undergraduates. The program establishes a unifying theme for the year that can serve as a basis for classroom discussion, programming, social and civic development, and connection to campus. This year's text is American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrara.

What are you most proud of professionally or personally?

I entered the field of student affairs to help students experience college in a way that allows them to be successful and also navigate any barriers. Most often those barriers have been related to an identity that they hold. This passion area has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many “folx” throughout my career. I have been able to travel, attend conferences as a presenter, connect to various resources and also begin doctoral work all focused on the importance of diversity.

What are your favorite spots or moments on campus?

My favorite spot on campus is the grassy areas in Williams Village, affectionately known as Will Vill. You can find students reading books while laying out in the grass, laying in hammocks, playing soccer or just waiting together to get on the Buff Bus. It is especially gorgeous in the winter because there is snow covering everywhere and then you look up and there's this great view of the mountains. Breathtaking!

What is your current office like?

My office is located in the Center for Community. It is a great location because it is there that one can find many of our campuses resources. There's a dining hall, showers, a grab-and-go, and you can also get your Buff OneCard. In my physical office, I have pictures on the wall of my family, fun little sayings and a small collection of coffee mugs. I try to keep my door open whenever I am not in meetings. “Folx” will stop by to sit down on the couch where we either problem-solve or tell pretty terrible dad jokes.

What is the best-kept secret on campus?

There are so many beautiful spaces on the Boulder campus. During breaks or downtimes, I walk around campus and I will just sit and reflect. You cannot beat the Flatirons, the campus ponds, beautiful architecture or the little random corners where you can sit down and relax. So, maybe not a secret but definitely something I treasure about CU Boulder.

Editor’s note: Lay uses the term “folxs” as an alternative spelling of “folks” to signal inclusivity for all communities.