Some IU academic advisers have gone beyond their typical jobs since everyone left campus in March by compiling a shared list of resources showing where students can get free Wi-Fi, free food sources and other support they may need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These resources can also be accessed by all students through the Division of Student Affairs website. The website includes information about how to manage social isolation, financial stress, physical health, technological issues and several other areas. Vice Provost of Student Affairs Kathy Riester said there has been an influx in technology support requests.
“We are all in this situation right now, and I think that sometimes there’s a stigma associated with reaching out for different things and hopefully this overarching situation is dampening that stigma a bit,” English department adviser Shawna Melvin said.
Melvin said a group of advisers have been compiling a master list of resources as they find them or as students send them. The goal is to share information with students who may have worries about internet accessibility, employment and other needs. Melvin said that she hopes students will look through the statewide resources sent to them for anything that might be available near them and ask for help if needed.
IU junior Abby McClain said that she valued the time spent talking to her advisers because they gave her individualized support and helped her schedule classes.
“When I was going into college several people would say ‘oh but IU is such a big school aren’t you worried that you're going to feel overwhelmed and not get individual attention?’, but I feel like this, if anything, has shown me that the professors and advisers are really here to help,” McClain said. “Nobody can control what’s going on, but everyone is here to help the students along the way.”
Riester said there is stress and uncertainty around student needs at this time so she has been encouraging advisers to assist students by sharing the resources.
“I think that we need to get information to students in whatever way we can,” Riester said. “So whoever their students are talking to, reaching out to the most, I think it’s great to share those campus resources.”