Students often experience hardships, both academically and personally, during their collegiate career. Through the work happening at Auburn Cares, students are provided support, assistance and resources allowing them to successfully navigate these times.
Auburn Cares helps students find campus and community resources, supports students with mental health matters and connects them with mental health providers. The office also supports students during times of sickness, injury or financial difficulties, and works with students to solve problems and help with crisis management.
Auburn Cares, previously titled Student Advocacy & Case Management, was created in 2011 to support students struggling with complex issues that could not be addressed by one single office on campus, according to Katherine Hettinger, manager of Auburn Cares.
“Our office works directly with students, parents, faculty and staff to support students struggling with a variety of issues, ranging from academic concerns to medical and mental health emergencies,” Hettinger said. “We help students identify resources, problem-solve solutions, set goals and advocate for themselves.”
The Auburn Cares office also oversees the Campus Food Pantry, which assists students who are struggling with food insecurity, and handles the medical withdrawal process for the entire campus.
“The Auburn Cares office is so important because it serves as the centralized reporting office on campus for students of concern or those who are struggling,” Hettinger said. “Our goal is always the safety and well-being of the student.”
Daily, Auburn Cares embodies the line of the Auburn Creed which states, “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.”
Hettinger and her staff reflect the human touch day in and day out as students and parents call to ask questions, talk through options and learn about resources. Additionally, Auburn Cares offers support and assistance to families when an Auburn University student passes away.
When an incident of a student death occurs, Auburn Cares reaches out to the families to offer condolences, provide support and handle all of their affairs on campus.
Annually, since 2012, Auburn Cares has conducted the Student Memorial Ceremony where the families of these students can return to campus to honor their loved one and reflect on the impact they had at Auburn University.
“It is the time when we honor their student, sit with them in grief and share hugs and tears,” Hettinger said. “It is the time when we literally and figuratively provide the human touch to these families.”
The Student Memorial Ceremony is held in the Memorial Garden and is hosted by Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, Bobby R. Woodard. During the ceremony, there are readings and remarks by student leaders and a flower ceremony that involves family participation.
This year, an in-person and virtual Student Memorial Ceremony was held on Sunday, April 25, and students remembered were Maxwell Fink, Jack Kennedy, Peter Smith and Carter Wilson.
To learn more about Auburn Cares and its resources, visit this website.