Campus fair makes ACCESS more accessible
“A lot of students connect ACCESS with something they would never need,” says director Nancy Smith. “But things like our study skills workshops and tutoring programs are available for all students.”
Smith says that incoming students often don't realize how challenging college can be. “There’s a pretty dramatic shift that takes place from high school to college,” she says. Facing higher-level academics, heavier workloads and busy schedules, many students need help but don't know who to ask. The ACCESS office provides an instant support system for these students. "Our tutor coordinator, Debbie Cashdollor, pairs up students with tutors in a matter of hours in most cases," Smith says.
The fair also provided information on maintaining good physical, emotional and spiritual health. The college provides a counseling center for the campus and local community, and professional counselor Dr. Tod Marion was available to answer students’ questions.
One of the most important roles of the ACCESS office is accommodating students with disabilities. Whether that means finding student note-takers or making campus buildings more accessible, Smith works closely with students, their advisors and campus administrators to make sure needs are addressed. “But there’s always more we can do,” she says.
Sometimes, the best way to serve students is by letting them see that people care. Smith works with a number of student tutors and assistants to keep the wheels turning in ACCESS, but sometimes she needs additional help. Recently, she sent a campus e-mail asking for volunteers who could read and record textbook material for an unnamed student. Jason Panella, staff support for public relations, was one of the many who responded.
"That Nancy could get more than a handful of responses within the hour is, well, something incredible,” Panella says. “People jumped at the chance to serve. The readings were time-consuming, sure, but I really got into them after a while. Hopefully some of that joy comes across."
For more information about the ACCESS office, click here.