Charnele Luster ’11 Elected President of RWU’s Alumni Association

Increasing engagement between alumni and current students is top goal.

By Melanie Thibeault
A photo of Charnele Luster

BRISTOL, R.I. – As the newly elected President of Roger Williams University’s Alumni Association, Charnele Luster ’11 will prioritize improving experiences for RWU students.

“I’m inspired by the students who are at Roger Williams now and their stories. I am excited to help them chart what is going to be next,” said Luster, who was elected president in October. “That’s always my guiding light: What do the students need and how can we help as alumni?”.

As someone who transferred to RWU from a historically Black college, part of her goal leading the Alumni Association is to “make the college experience of young Black and brown college students better,” she said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Luster, who works as the Director of Residential Programs at Harvard University and has a Master of Education in educational leadership from St. Lawrence University, succeeds Nibal Awad ’12, who completed her term as president earlier this year.

“Charnele has proven to be an effective and dedicated member of the Roger Williams University Alumni Board since first joining,” said Theresa M. Agonia, Vice President of the Alumni Board. “I am excited to work alongside her in this new capacity and look forward to the new opportunities we can identify to elevate alumni voices in decision-making on campus and engage additional Roger alumni.”

The RWU Alumni Association Board of Directors, which meets once a month, is a volunteer leadership group that works with the Office of Alumni Relations and the Division of Institutional Advancement, serving as a bridge to the broader alumni community and working to develop programs and initiatives.

“We’re a team of dedicated and passionate people who love the university and want to help make it even better. We have a really strong board right now,” Luster said, adding that with some new members, their fresh ideas and energy “is going to be really exciting.”

Before joining the Alumni Association, Luster was (and still is) part of Roger’s Alumni of Color Network. “My involvement from there has just grown and blossomed,” she said. Finding ways to connect with students and alumni became her passion project.

As president, she hopes to find more alumni who will engage with current students, whether through mentoring, networking, speaking to classes, or posting internships and jobs through the Center for Career and Professional Development. Additionally, alumni have opportunities to network with each other, connect socially, and/or serve on the Alumni Association board.

“Let’s get you re-engaged with RWU,” Luster said. “There are so many different layers of involvement; it can look as big or as small as you want.”

Hailing from Oxford, Mass., Luster majored in Architecture with a core concentration in Visual Arts at RWU. Among her many roles on campus, she served as a resident assistant, an orientation leader, a peer mentor for the Bridge to Success program and worked as one of the Hawk’s Nest café managers.

Her advice for current students? “Have an open mind to the experiences that come to you,” she said, “and utilize all the resources that Roger Williams has to offer.”  

RWU’s Alumni and Reunion Weekend is June 2-4, 2023, and is open to all alumni with special tributes to classes ending in “3” and “8.”  

Alumni who want to get involved can email or connect on Instagram and Facebook.