Student services adjust to virtual options to remain accessible
Sara Schlecht | Friday, March 27, 2020
While instruction at Saint Mary’s has gone remote, the College itself has not closed. For the few students who were approved remain on campus, as well as the greater student body, services are still available, albeit many of them adjusted for remote use.
Linda Timm, interim vice president for student affairs, said the administration is focused on creating programming that keeps students involved with the College.
“One thing that we’re really trying to work on, certainly from the student affairs end of things, are ways that we can keep students engaged and not forgetting about campus itself and campus life,” she said.
In order to accomplish this, Timm said various departments are working to adjust their services to make them accessible to students remotely.
“At the Health and Counseling Center, counselors are still hosting virtual appointments,” Timm said. “For health services, students are still having virtual contact with a nurse if need be.”
Other services housed in the Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex are working to make accommodations so students can still make use of them.
“Athletics is putting together some wellness and exercise videos since Angela is closed,” Timm said. “These are things students could do from home.”
The Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) also plans to create programming students can access virtually, Timm said.
One such program is a panel discussion, hosted in conjunction with Campus Ministry and the Wellness Program, that will take place via Google Meet on Monday, according to a Wednesday email sent to the Saint Mary’s community.
Other services, such as dining, will continue to be adjusted. Regular dining services ended Wednesday, Timm said, and the College is exploring other options for the fewer than 20 students still living on campus.
“There are, of course, delivery services and such that we can engage with,” Timm said. “There are grocery store deliveries … We’re going to have to be creative on how we can do this for students. It’s still a process, but we will definitely take care of students.”
The library is also still open, Timm said, though its hours and services are more limited than usual.
“IT is based [in the library],” Timm said. “IT is engaged with faculty in terms of assisting with what they need to get their classes going online. Trumper [Computer Center] has been open for the students that are here. Obviously, everyone has to observe the appropriate guidelines when using that facility.”
One service that hasn’t changed much is the Career Crossings Office, as it is has always been open year-round, director Stacie Jeffirs said in an email. The office has maintained 99% of the appointments that were scheduled prior to spring break and has experienced an increased number of alumnae making contact in recent weeks.
“Operations for Career Crossings are continuing as they always have and has moved virtual,” Jeffirs said. “We can provide nearly all of our services and resources virtually and have been meetings with students and alums using Google Meet, phone and email.”
The office is maintaining its regular hours and can also set appointments outside of these times to accommodate people in other time zones or those who have schedule conflicts, Jeffirs said.
“We want to reassure students and alums that we are here for them, no matter how far from campus they are,” she said. “I also think it is important that the office and the College maintain consistent contact with students and alums.
”With most everything restricting hours, social distancing and people sheltering in place, life has already and will continue to feel isolating. Although virtual meetings cannot replace in-person contact completely, we hope that they will help keep students and alums connected to us and us connected to them.”