Morewood Gardens Lenny Chan with his wife Jennifer

Getting to Know Lenny Chan

Lenny S. Chan is one of two Housefellows, along with Aaron George, for Morewood Gardens, the residence hall that more than 450 upper-class Carnegie Mellon University students call home. He also oversees CMU’s Community Standards process, which includes being process advisor for the University Disciplinary Committee, coordinating safety-related programming, serving as the advisor to SafeWalk (a program that provides escorts to students and faculty who are walking on or near campus during late night hours), and working with compliance as it relates to student life.

Lenny earned his bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in college student personnel, both from Slippery Rock University.

How did you come to join CMU?

After earning my master’s degree while working full time, I was looking forward to a new adventure. I began my career at Carnegie Mellon working with Greek Life, specifically with the fraternities and special events (Greek Sing and Greek Council). After three years, I transitioned into a housefellow role in the Oakland community. For seven years, I was the Housefellow for Fairfax Apartments as well as other housing communities in Oakland. This is my first year working in Morewood Gardens, and it’s been great!

Why is the Morewood Gardens community awesome?

Morewood Gardens is the largest house community on campus so there is tremendous opportunity for students to connect with one another. The building has many amenities and is convenient to most campus locations. The RA staff does a great job of providing a variety of programming for their specific floor sections as well as for the entire building. We often host special programs at Morewood Gardens because of its central location. “Big Questions,”¬†an opportunity for students to discuss meaningful issues with faculty and other students in a relaxed and informal setting, is one example.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

This is challenging since I have so many. I would have to say every commencement day. There is something so special about being on campus that day. Regardless of the weather or anything else that is going on in life, commencement makes you feel good about Carnegie Mellon and the work that is done here throughout the year.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

Be passionate about something. Whether it is a professional or personal interest, find at least one thing and go all in.

Lenny and Jennifer's rescue pups, Finn and Riley, looking totally adorbs.
Lenny and Jennifer’s rescue pups, Finn and Riley, looking totally adorbs.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?

I enjoy reading nonfiction and learning about local history. I currently serve on the board of trustees for my fraternity (Phi Kappa Theta) and look for ways to engage in the Pittsburgh community. Pittsburgh is a great city and has so much to offer, and I try to take advantage of those things as much as possible. My wife, Jennifer, and I enjoy eating at local restaurants, supporting local businesses, and attending events in the Cultural District. We also have two rescue dogs, Finn and Riley, who are a big part of our family.

All-time favorite book: When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Always a tough question since there are so many choices. I would love to have dinner with John F. Kennedy. It would be great to talk about his life, what he could have accomplished, and what he thinks about the state of things today.

You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?

Pizza, all of the pizza.

Morewood Gardens is a great place to live if you are considering Block Housing for the 2016-17 academic year. The deadline to apply for Block Housing is Monday, February 22, by noon via the Housing Portal.

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