A glimpse into the life of Chelsea MacLennan, the woman behind the curtain of Western Michigan University’s recruitment events for potential students

By Blake Kuzma

Saturday, 5 a.m. and Chelsea MacLennan is awake.

Normally she wouldn’t have to be up, but today is an Open House day for Western Michigan University. The minute she steps into the Bernhard Center at 6 a.m., her mind clicks through her list of things to do and she flits in and out of rooms: Signs need to be placed or hung up, the people with the balloon letters need inside the building, student ambassadors are showing up and need their assignments for the day.

The first guests will arrive at 8:30 a.m. They will be tired, confused, and anxious and MacLennan will be one of the first people they see: A small, young woman with jet black hair teased and smoothed, a smile fixed on her face. Her back will be straight, chin parallel with the floor, as she directs them to their rooms. When all the guests have settled, she will take a moment to sit at the information table, relax her shoulders and spine, and wait to do it all again in an hour.

Chelsea MacLennan, 27, works for the Admissions Office for Western Michigan University as an event planner. She primarily focuses on Open Houses and Admitted Student Events. She is only six months in to the job, and is trying to bring new life to old events.

“They gave me a lot of responsibility right off the bat, so they trust me a lot,” she says.

Her boss, Scott Hennessey, the associate director of outreach at Admissions, describes her as “aggressive” and very concerned with the small things.

“All the little things that I don’t care about, she does,” Hennessey said.

MacLennan ends her Open House days at 6 p.m., exhausted and hungry. She will drive the 5-minute commute home, her once-perfect makeup smudged and her teased hair deflated, eager to get to her bed and sleep.