It Takes a Village

It takes a village article image

A campus with a student body as unique and diverse as Farmingdale State College’s (FSC) needs a creative and cooperative approach to support services.

“The heart of FSC’s approach to student support services is centered around a collective and collaborative commitment to inclusion and supporting diverse populations with varying needs,” said Rena Varghese, executive director of the Nexus Center for Applied Learning and Career Development.

“We provide access to resources, experiential learning opportunities, and a constant source of motivation to build student confidence and commitment to earning a college degree,” said Janice Rivera, executive director for academic support and access programs. The Nexus Center partners with multiple offices across campus, including Campus Mental Health Services, Disability Services, the Academic Advisement and Information Center, Pre-Health Professions Advisement, TRIO, and RAM to promote applied learning, co-curricular activities, and recruiting events.

The Academic Support and Access Programs office helps support first-generation college students, a role to which both Rivera and Varghese can relate as first-generation college graduates themselves.

Two critical support programs are TRIO and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). TRIO is a federally funded outreach and student services program designed for low-income and first-generation students and students with disabilities. CSTEP is a state-funded program designed to help under-represented groups pursuing professional licensure and/or careers in STEM fields. Students receive counseling, tutoring, financial assistance, and internship and research opportunities.

FSC also is home to a state-funded Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) for educationally and financially disadvantaged students, offering financial assistance as well as academic, pre-professional, and personal counseling, among other support services.

Another important initiative is the Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) program, for which students qualify as low income, a first-generation college student, or a member of a historically minoritized community. Students receive academic advising, mentoring, and access to on- and off-campus research opportunities.

Available to all students, the Tutoring Center provides in-person and online tutoring, academic success workshops, and academic coaching. The center also works with the campus Writing Center and Math Center for those who need more targeted support.

Campus Mental Health Services offers free in-person and online counseling to help students cope with stress, anxiety, and emotional concerns.

With one of the largest veteran populations in the SUNY system, FSC’s Office of Veterans’ Services helps veterans with the admissions process, registering for classes, applying for benefits, and finding any other support they need.

The Disability Services Center works with students who have disabilities or a disabling medical condition to find ways for them to fully access all services and programs on campus.

Varghese concluded, “Our academic and student support areas work cooperatively to prepare our students for success in the classroom and outside of the College, where they can engage meaningfully with our communities.”

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