When I moved to campus last fall, I braced myself for change. Regardless of the 30-minute drive to go back home, I faced challenges from being in a new place and not knowing people that I could go to for help. As I began to meet colleagues in my community on campus, I felt more comfortable living here. Even still, I felt that something was missing. Though I had started to make wonderful friends, I felt that I needed to talk to somebody on campus that could help me navigate topics like my financial situation, housing concerns, online classes and more. In search of this person, I began to reach out to multiple student leaders that helped me on my way to finding success on campus.
One of the first people that I reached out to was my residential advisor, Nicole (she/her). She made our community space feel comfortable to voice our concerns, which was helpful when questions arose throughout the semester. I asked Nicole if we could have a one-on-one chat, and she was very willing to answer some of my questions. While we talked, she made it clear that she did not have all the answers, but could reach out to people that she knew could help. This made me feel like I had a real friend on campus who was there whenever I needed to talk or find resources. After we talked about concerns like mental health resources on campus and my living situation, she led me to one of the members of the Outreach Team named Jimmy (he/him).
In just a few short days, I received an email from Jimmy. In this email, he explained that he was here to provide support and resources for my concerns. He offered several options for me to talk about what I was feeling, which included a phone call, a zoom meeting or by email. He also offered several time slots in order to best fit my schedule, and it made me feel like he really wanted to help me. These options also made it clear that I could receive help while being safe from COVID-19. Through several phone calls and email updates, Jimmy provided resources to all of my concerns about anything from scholarships to my living situation and mental health. This led me to a better place on campus that best supported my mental health and academic success. Because of this, I was able to continue taking classes and living on campus without the worry of not being able to support myself.
In my situation, Jimmy provided fantastic support that will serve me for several years while I attend the University of Utah, but he is not the only one here to help. As our campus expands and we become aware of the growing challenges that students face, the HRE staff has grown to better serve students. In addition to Jimmy, there is another member of the Outreach Team, Kristi (she/her). I believe that all students should know of the resources they have when looking for support, which is why I interviewed Kristi to find more information about how she can provide support. Read below to find answers to frequently asked questions that students have for our Outreach Team.
What does the Outreach Team do?
The Outreach Team is here to meet with any on-campus residential student to provide support and resources. They meet with students to get an idea of what is going on, what they need help with and how they are feeling. From there, they can offer support and resources. In order to best support the student, they can hold several follow-up meetings and reach out to other offices to provide resources like counseling, academic advising, and get answers to questions that the student may have.
How can I find the Outreach Team for my residential building?
Our Outreach Team is not assigned to specific residential buildings on campus. This means that any residential student is able to reach out to either Jimmy or Kristi (members of the Outreach Team) to find support.
How fast can I get support from somebody on campus?
The Outreach Team can provide support in a timely manner and very quickly in most cases. They will meet with them in as little as 24 to 48 hours in order to hear what is going on and problem solve from there. The faster you reach out, the faster you can get support.
How can I get in contact with the Outreach Team?
There are posters with information about how to contact the team posted on many of the walls throughout residential buildings. If students do not have this information, HRE outreach staff can be contacted at the following:
What kind of resources can the Outreach Team provide for me?
Students often have questions and concerns that range across many different topics. The Outreach Team can provide support and resources for things like housing insecurities, finances, academics, job opportunities, mental health, domestic violence and assault, family problems, relationship issues and much more. If students have any concerns, they should feel free to reach out to any professional HRE staff.
Throughout my time living on campus here at the University of Utah, I have been able to find support for all kinds of concerns. As a first-year student, it is important to know what resources are available to you whether you live on campus or not. HRE is dedicated to providing help for all students through the use of Residential Advisors, our Outreach Team and the rest of HRE staff. Students across campus should feel encouraged to reach out to our staff members if they are in need of assistance or support at any time.