Student Involvement recognized nationally for virtual meeting efforts

Student Involvement recognized nationally for virtual meeting efforts

The University Program Council holds traditional Leadership Call Outs on the virtual steps of Cater Hall.

Auburn University’s Student Involvement office has been recognized nationally for its efforts to transition to virtual organization management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Campus Intelligence website, part of the Campus Labs family, said the office “returns to the classic Student Affairs adage of ‘challenge and support’ and brings it up a notch.”

 

“Wherever possible, Student Involvement shifted virtually for major department events in order to maintain a sense of normalcy for their students and continue to build campus pride,” the story said.

Campus Intelligence highlighted Student Involvement’s reimagining of the upcoming Student Involvement Awards and the International Student Banquet. Other virtual transitions have included moving Student Government Association meetings online and having University Program Council callouts online.

“We’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to do in terms of maintaining and creating programming for our students,” said Corey Edwards, director of Student Involvement, which oversees more than 500 student organizations. “This has been a challenging time, especially for students, and it’s nice to offer them some degree of normalcy when it comes to their organizations continuing to operate.”

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A letter from Dr. Woodard to the students

A letter from Dr. Woodard to the students

To our students:

A year ago, our campus was celebrating after a historic run to basketball’s Final Four. Some of us cheered on the Tigers in person, while others watched from home, with hundreds gathering at Toomer’s Corner when we prevailed at the Sweet 16. It was truly great to be an Auburn Tiger and a great time to be together.

This year is historic, too, but for a much different reason. Since you left for Spring Break, most of you haven’t been able to return, and all of our lives have been turned upside down. You, in particular, have been hit hard, with classes going online, graduation being postponed, events being canceled – the list goes on. Many of you have left your Auburn homes and are now far away from the friends that are part of your Auburn Family.

You all have already made some amazing adjustments. I’ve been heartened to hear about the ways you’ve been coping with the challenges, from communicating with each other through Zoom to staying engaged with your classes to learning to get things accomplished in a new way.

But there’s no two ways about it – all of this is stressful, and it will continue to be until we get some sort of sense of when it will all be over. If we all concentrate on physical distancing and follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, hopefully that will come sooner rather than later.

Until then, though, I wanted to let you know of a few resources available to you:

  • Health Promotion & Wellness Services is offering wellness coaching via Zoom, giving you a chance to work on goals relating to stress management, time management and other topics.
  • A Sound Mind, a campus-wide mental health initiative, has compiled information to help you through this time, including dealing with feelings you may experience and tips for taking care of yourself and others.
  • Student Counseling & Psychological Services can provide consultations by phone and, for students still living in Alabama, tele-mental health via Zoom. If you are an Auburn student and need these services or are in crisis, call 334-844-5123 any time of the day or night. SCPS has also compiled a great list of other local and national resources for you.

Please take advantage of these services if you need them. Also remember that any official COVID-19 news related to the university – including an extensive list of FAQs — can be found at aub.ie/coronavirus.

Finally, if Student Affairs can help you with anything, we’re just an email away, at vpsa@auburn.edu.

All of these resources are available with one goal in mind: We want you to take care of yourselves. Though the timeline is uncertain, we will get through this, and my hunch is that once we return, the bonds of the Auburn Family will be stronger than ever.

War Eagle!

Bobby R. Woodard, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

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In memoriam: Maxwell “Max” Fink

In memoriam: Maxwell “Max” Fink

Auburn University will remember student Maxwell “Max” Fink beginning Wednesday, Feb. 5.

The memorial flag will fly in front of Samford Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The flag will then be displayed, along with a memorial certificate, in the Student Center for two weeks beginning Thursday, Feb. 6.

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In memoriam: James F. Stallworth

In memoriam: James F. Stallworth

Auburn University will remember student James F. Stallworth beginning Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The memorial flag will fly in front of Samford Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The flag will then be displayed, along with a memorial certificate, in the Student Center for two weeks beginning Friday, Jan. 31.

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Living the Auburn Creed

Living the Auburn Creed

Living the Auburn Creed

The Auburn Creed is a mantra meant to guide students to make good choices and behave like true Auburn men and women.

When that isn’t quite the case, a student may be referred to Student Conduct, the department responsible for addressing non-academic violations of University policy through the Code of Student Conduct.

Grace Anne Latimer is a graduate assistant in Student Conduct. One of her main responsibilities includes sitting down with students who are referred to Student Conduct and guiding them through the process.

Students can be referred to Student Conduct for violations both on-campus and off. If a law is broken, she helps guide the student through the legal process. Latimer says that most students who come into her office are respectful and remorseful.

“I worried I would meet students who were convinced they did nothing wrong,” Latimer says. “While that does represent a small portion of students, most students I see take ownership of their actions.”

During the 2019 football season, conduct violations in Jordan-Hare Stadium were down significantly from other seasons. The exact figure is 45 violations, a 16.67% decrease from policy violations in the 2018 season.

“We’re really proud of that number, because it shows that students are embodying the Creed and choosing to make good decisions,” Latimer says.

Student Conduct also works with students to refer them to other departments within Student Affairs, such as Student Counseling & Psychological Services and Auburn Cares.

“Something really unique about our office is our close proximity with Auburn Cares,” Latimer says. “I think this allows us to address conduct violations with a holistic approach of the whole student. We are able to address underlying issues and get students the help they may need.”

As a special education major, Latimer explains that her position in Student Conduct has prepared her for her career by giving her experience exercising empathy and discretion.

“I recognize that whoever walks into my office is a whole person with a story,” she says. “Keeping that in mind, I am able to see them for more than just their conduct violation and am able to connect them with other resources on campus.”

Her favorite part of her job is getting to meet students and help them through tough times.

“My favorite part of this role is getting to meet all of the students who come through my door,” Latimer says. “Though it may not be the best circumstances that brought them here, I’ve learned that everyone has a story.”

For more information about Student Conduct, please contact the office at 334-844-1305.

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Special Spotlight

Aubie the Tiger has been busy this season spreading holiday cheer for all to hear!

Every holiday season, Aubie gets dressed up as Aubie Claus to fundraise for the Aubie Program and for Aubie’s journey to win his tenth UCA Mascot National Championship. The Aubie Claus event was held three times in November to give the Auburn Family a chance to pose with their favorite tiger while embodying the living spirit of Auburn.

When Aubie isn’t busy prepping for the UCA Mascot National Championship, he spends his time spreading holiday cheer at other seasonal events, such as the Holiday Lighting Ceremony. The Holiday Lighting Ceremony marks the beginning of the season, a special time for the Auburn Family to celebrate tradition and diversity on our campus.

Spreading holiday cheer isn’t Aubie’s only prerogative, though. He also graces Ring Night, the Ring Ceremony and graduation to reinforce longstanding Auburn traditions and to applaud the newest graduates of the university.

Ella Cunningham, director of scheduling for Aubie, accompanies him to all of his events and ensures his schedule stays full of other commitments such as holiday party appearances. She says her favorite part of sticking by Aubie’s side is seeing the joy he brings to everyone he meets.

“I’ve never seen someone who’s not excited to see Aubie,” Cunningham says. “I think it’s especially relevant during the holiday season, when students may be stressed about classes and finals, to see their stress melt away from hugging their favorite furry friend.”

For more information about the Aubie Program, please contact Aubie Advisor Corey Edwards by email at edwarcm@auburn.edu, or by phone at 334-844-1285.

 

In Memoriam: Chih-Kai Lai

 

Auburn University will remember student, Chih-Kai Lai, beginning Monday, Dec. 2.

The memorial flag flew in front of Samford on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The flag will be displayed in the Student Center along with a memorial certificate from Dec. 4 – Dec. 18.

 

A Sound Mind: Promoting Mental Wellness on Auburn’s Campus

The fourth line of the Auburn Creed states, “I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid.”

Anyone who works with college students knows that maintaining a sound mind is not always a top priority. While intentions of sleeping eight hours a night and drinking enough water may be promising, life tends to get in the way, and self-care may fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

Markie Pasternak, coordinator of outreach and peer education for Health Promotion & Wellness Services (HPWS), and Dustin Johnson, assistant director for outreach and mental health initiatives for Student Counseling & Psychological Services (SCPS), recently joined forces to launch A Sound Mind, a website rooted in mental wellness.

Planning for the website came to fruition in Sept. 2018, when Pasternak and Johnson realized the need for an all-encompassing resource to assist students with a multitude of problems, from stress management to eating disorders and everything in between.

The website has specific information for students struggling with ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, helping a friend, sleep, stress management and self-care. There is also information connecting students to various campus partners, trainings offered, involvement opportunities and resources for faculty and staff.

Pasternak hopes the website will be helpful to a wide array of students who may not be literate in all aspects of mental health.

“Mental health looks different for different individuals with different identities and different lived experiences,” says Pasternak. “We want A Sound Mind to be inclusive and accessible to everyone.”

Pasternak’s position with HPWS came from the Mental Health Task Force, a coalition of professionals and students from different departments tasked with addressing mental health on Auburn’s campus. A specific recommendation proposed by the task force was to “design and implement an integrated communication campaign that incorporates forms of traditional and social media.”

Johnson says that the Mental Health Task Force helped him see how the partnership with HPWS would help both departments collaborate to address and implement the recommendations. Part of this included addressing mental health in a more proactive manner.

“Auburn, like many other college campuses, is having more and more students coming in with mental health concerns,” he says. “We’ve recognized that we need to change the strategy. We can’t just wait for students to come to us. We are really working to get the message out there as more proactive and preventative mental health care.”

While Johnson provides the clinical care for students with mental health concerns, Pasternak and the HPWS team play an integral role in promoting the resources available to students. Both Johnson and Pasternak want students to know that feeling overwhelmed is normal, and seeking help is a brave choice.

“Getting help is a very courageous thing to do,” explains Pasternak. “Seeking out information and education is so beneficial. Leaning on your support system by telling people in your life what you’ve been living with can be very validating. It is a brave choice to seek help, and it is a choice that will change your life for the better.”

View A Sound Mind here. For more information, please contact HPWS at 334-844-1528.

 

Staff Spotlight: Brandy Smith

Staff Spotlight: Brandy Smith

For some people, work is about simply going through the motions and getting a paycheck. But for Brandy Smith, Student Counseling & Psychological Services assistant director of clinical training, work is not just work- it’s a chance to make a difference every day and shape the lives of those she supervises.

Making a difference for Smith included helping launch a doctoral internship program, an initiative SCPS had been wanting to tackle for years.

“Talks of starting an internship program had been going on for about 20 years,” says Smith. “In 2015, we began the process of making this dream a reality, with support from the university’s Mental Health Task Force.”

Smith explains that the Mental Health Task Force, an alliance of a students, staff and faculty dedicated to addressing mental health on Auburn’s campus, played an integral role in facilitating the process of starting the program.

Working closely with SCPS Director Doug Hankes, Smith began taking the steps necessary to launch the internship program. First and foremost, Smith worked to secure APPIC membership and become APA-accredited. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) is the entity that works with the National Match Program to place psychology doctoral students in internships. The American Psychological Program (APA) grants accreditation status to internship programs that show commitment to quality and continuous improvement.

While today’s internship program is accredited, this was not the case during the 2017-2018 academic year, when SCPS began recruiting its first internship class. The challenge lay in securing interns without being listed as an APPIC member. Smith put in extra work to ensure that the program launched with success.

“We were able to fill our 2019 class, which is a statistical anomaly,” explains Smith. “Having a full cohort allows us to be more selective with our candidates.”

Smith says her favorite part of the process has been seeing all of her efforts come to fruition.

“The staff has wanted this program for so long, so it’s really been fulfilling to see that happen,” she says. “I always want to contribute to the field and to help train and supervise, so this has been a rewarding experience for me. There are a lot of great people here.”

Passing on professional knowledge to the interns is important to Smith. The internship program places a heavy emphasis on diversity, self-reflection and professionalism.

“Incorporating diversity initiatives into our curriculum is important,” she says, “because the message will continue to be shared, so it branches off and continues to have a positive impact.”

Doctoral intern Joshua McLaughlin describes Smith as a compassionate supervisor with a talent for empowering others.

“Dr. Smith carries herself with openness and compassion, and she is dedicated to making this internship a growth-promoting experience,” McLaughlin says. “I really appreciate her emphasis on approaching diversity concerns with curiosity and humility. Her passion has enhanced my own awareness of the challenges faced by persons with various identities as well as how to empower the voices of those who have been historically marginalized.”

Smith hopes the program continues to secure four interns each year and will continue to recruit a diverse applicant pool. Above all else, she is grateful for those who helped get this program off the ground.

“There were many people who played an instrumental role in getting this program up and running,” says Smith. “The president of the university, Doug Hankes and [Senior Vice President for Student Affairs] Bobby Woodard all worked within their offices and within Student Affairs to get this internship program started. I am very appreciative of the Auburn Family.”

For more information about the Doctoral Internship Program, contact the SCPS office at 334-844-5123.