Facing an entirely remote spring quarter, UC Santa Barbara Student Affairs administrators are working to transition traditionally in-person student services onto online platforms.
According to Katya Armistead, assistant vice chancellor and dean of student life, all departments within Student Affairs — which includes the MultiCultural Center (MCC), the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) and the Disabled Students Program (DSP), among others — are working to transition their services to online platforms.
Miles Ashlock, acting associate dean and director at the Office of Student Life (OSL), explained that the campus is transitioning its student services page to be more “dynamic,” incorporating new online technology to help make student services more accessible.
“We’ll have a revamp of departments and services on our website, and the online events will be on there as well,” Ashlock said, calling the page a “unified space” for students to find information about a particular service.
Departments have improvised “really creative work” for online services, Ashlock said, citing standouts such as the online meditation put on by the Health and Wellness Program and the preparedness of the Career Services team, who recently transitioned to virtual workshops and meetings.
UCSB Health and Wellness is hosting daily mindfulness meditation sessions for students, as well as three online challenges where students can track sleep, wellness and happiness for a “chance at high-value prizes,” according to their website.
Career Services also has a range of online workshops for students, including virtual practice networking sessions, resume builders and meet and greets with university recruiters, along with strategies and advice for students applying for internships or jobs in the midst of a pandemic and virtual meetings.
Both Counseling & Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.) and Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education (C.A.R.E.), which provide resources to survivors of sexual violence and harassment, typically offer in-person counseling and psychological services. However, all appointments have been transferred to virtual Zoom meetings, and 24-hour crisis hotlines remain active. In addition, the C.A.P.S. Mental Health Peer Program is “working on creating virtual Spring 2020 content” to give students an opportunity to connect with peers, according to its website.
Similarly, the RCSGD assured students that it would continue to provide them with resources to “support [students] during these trying times.”
“We assure you that we will still have events and there will be ways to engage with the center and your LGBTQIA+ peers,” a representative from the RCSGD said in a Facebook post.
The post assured students that the RCSGD would be continuing to create spaces for LGBTQIA+ students, as well as linking basic needs resources from other departments. From now on, the department will also be holding all events over Zoom; students who want the passwords for each meeting can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with Student Services’ redesigned website, Ashlock also referenced the “community engagement platform” Shoreline, which helps connect UCSB students to online services, as well as to other students.
“There is a sense of connection to campus through Shoreline,” Ashlock said. “We are lucky to have a community to be connected to.”
Beginning the first week of spring quarter, Student Affairs will be sending students weekly emails that either introduces them to new online services or updates them on old ones, according to Armistead.
Student Affairs will also hold a webinar on April 8 to address students’ questions and “show them we are here to listen to their problems and hope to provide solutions,” Armistead said.
The resources that serve underprivileged and vulnerable students on campus, like the MCC, the Women’s Center, the RCSGD, C.A.R.E. and C.A.P.S., are “invaluable to our community,” Ashlock said.
Armistead emphasized the importance of open communication between the administration and students.
“If you really have a question or a concern, email me. It’s hard to see the social media posts, and I want to reply even if it isn’t to me, so if you have a concern, please reach out to me and I would be more than happy to talk about it.”
To the UCSB community, Ashlock offered a word of advice to those hesitant to use the new online services.
“Seven billion of us are all facing things that we haven’t before. Give what we’re doing a chance.”
Correction [4/8, 1:10 p.m.]: This article was updated with the correct hyperlink for C.A.P.S.
[Correction 4/8/20 7:43 pm]: This article has been corrected to say that all student services are working to transition online. Previously, it said 80% of student services were working on the transition.
Holly Rusch is an asst. news editor for the Daily Nexus. She can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.