Get Involved on Campus with the Service Solution Center

The Navigator

Opening Wednesday morning on the second floor of the Davis Student Commons the Service Solutions Center will be available to Jacksonville University students who want to become more involved on campus.

The center will be opened from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. The hours are in an effort to catch the dinner crowd. The student solutions center wasn’t formed to repair the campus; it was created to enhance student life.

“We are not necessarily a dump place, we are here to connect students to where they want to go,” said Laura Andrews, Student Solution Center director. “Students can even come in and say hi and tell us about good things that are happening on campus.”

If there is a part of campus doing a good job, it is the job of the Center to tell whoever is responsible, and on the other end if there is a place that could use improvement the center can deliver that message as well.

“We want students to feel like they can come in whenever; they don’t have to make an appointment,” Andrews said.

Davina Hamilton, the assistant director for the Students Solutions Center, attended JU from 05-09, and was a student athlete – the shooting guard for the Women’s Basketball team. Hamilton’s past experiences at JU has put her in a good position to help students.

“I’ve been there and done that,” Hamilton said. “I’ve had many of the same classes, professors, eaten in the cafeteria, and I also still go to events of the clubs and organizations on campus. I still go to some step shows and dance events. Having done and experienced some of the same things first-hand puts me in a good position to be able to relate to the students.”

When students are doing poorly they can go into the Center and make an appointment.

“A lot of times when students are doing bad they feel intimidated-we’re here to try to eliminate that intimidation,” Andrews said. “What can we do to resolve this? Many times it is overwhelming for freshmen; we want to be here for students. We know a lot of students already feel comfortable coming into the Center.”

If the Center does not know the answer Andrews or Hamilton can walk students to the right place to get their answer. They also plan on doing a lot of outreach – going and knocking on doors, having lunch events, sitting out with the students and passing out flyers.

“We are outgoing and have a heart for the students,” Andrews said. “We’re both young and hip. We want there to be a buzz about the center.”

Even though there is not a front desk attendant, Andrews said, “If our doors are open, come on in.”

Dean of Students Bryan Coker’s role in creating the student solutions center was working with the renovation of the office and ensuring that the furniture in the office was donated. He also worked with planning and hiring the staff.

“Laura was hired because she had a clear, specific vision for the student center and what it should be,” said Coker.

The office will serve 2 roles, being the office for student drop-ins as well as outreach for students who are not familiar with the office. There will be a lot of outreach this semester.

The goal of the center is to be sure that students don’t get lost in the fray, Coker said. The best comparison I’ve heard of it is that it is a connector- to connect students with the correct and appropriate recourses on campus.

Coker was a part of a group that visited Florida Southern College in October 2010.

“We were impressed by the energy of the staff, passion about what they were doing, and the student traffic in and out of the office,” Coker said. “They also felt that their office was successful in improving the retention rate, which is what we are trying to do”’

The idea for the Student Solution Center was presented through FSC. Someone told President Kerry Romesburg about a center on their campus that was located in a place where students could go whenever they needed help. Together he and others went to FSC to look at it.

“One of the frustrations that often came out when I met with students is that they didn’t know where to go and didn’t know the questions to ask or didn’t know what information to receive,” Romesburg said.

The Center will serve as a liaison between students and the rest of the campus. The question is not if we would do it, but when. They wanted to build the center and implement it now so that students could get familiar with it, Romesburg said.

“Some people have financial issues, some are just unhappy, but most people leave because they are not connected to the campus, that’s the group we hope to impact,” Romesburg said.

The Center is one of many initiatives to stop retention, others include enrolling more students in JU 101, moving the advising center to the Howard Administration Building and teachers alerting the office of students who need help in their classes.