In the Center for Student Involvement, community development is the core

Missy Pollock

The Center for Student Involvement, formally known as the Office of Campus Life, is going through a renovation.

Because of the budget cuts of 2002 and 2005, the Office of Campus Life decided to go in a new direction, said Sheryl Smith, director of the center and associate dean of students. The department is restructuring, and part of that is a new name: the Center for Student Involvement.

The staff has been given more responsibilities and each is advising more student organizations.

“I now supervise staff that work with orientation, transition programs, commuters and events and programming,” Brenda McKenzie, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement, said in an e-mail. “Before the change, I supervised the Greek life area.”

The transition will help contribute to more cross-programming efforts in all areas of the office. A number of the staff members work with different areas and have a greater knowledge base, McKenzie said. Everyone is adjusting quickly to the added number of tasks given to them.

“Students are changing, and we needed to alter our approach with what we offer to help meet their needs,” Smith said. “We provide services and programs to meet their interests, and the best way we can do that is by communication.”

The name change better reflects the office’s purpose, Smith said. It helps students understand where they need to go if they want to get involved.

“It has been easier to send students there to get more involved,” said Bill Ross, executive director of the Undergraduate Student Senate. “If students want to know where to volunteer for things, it’s a known thing. That’s the area to send them.”

There is more collaboration with helping students get connected with student activities and programs, Ross said. The campus needs students to become involved, it needs them to go to events held on campus.

The Center for Student Involvement is preparing students for the kinds of leadership the campus needs, Smith said.

There are four main programs of the Center for Student Involvement: student multicultural, student leadership and development, student transitions and connections and student engagement.

“We are a resource for students if they are looking for ways to get involved and connected to campus,” McKenzie said. “Besides joining a student organization, it also could mean getting involved in community service, attending events and programs or working as a student leader with the orientation programs.”

Indirectly, the Center for Campus Involvement has an impact on all student organizations, McKenzie said. The same can be said for the programming – whether it is the orientation programs, leadership development or programs offered by student groups advised by the staff.

“Let us know what we can do to be involved,” Smith said. “We are a critical link to academic experience. We want everyone here to receive a well-rounded package.”

Contact the Center for Campus Involvement at (330) 672-2480.

Contact student affairs reporter Missy Pollock at [email protected].