We are here to help
By Samantha O’Conner
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Most students here at EOU are unaware of the Student Resource Advocate. The SRA is a practicum position that began last year and is here to help students find services they need.
“We’re still here, we’re still going and it’s going to be here next year,” said Sheryln Roberts, head of SRA. “We’ve had really great success. We ran a program in the winter to get some winter shoes vouchers so any student who was in need of help for purchasing winter footwear they could come see me. I would give them a voucher for $20, they could take it to the thrift store called the Royal Clothiers and they could go get winter footwear.” Roberts said that will run it again next school year with the goal of having vouchers for coats or outerwear available during both fall and winter term.
She also explained that she is not a program and does not run programs. She is here to help connect students to the program, to the department or to the person they need to find. That is the goal of SRA.
“There is so much available for students,” Roberts said. The SRA not only has information for on-campus resources, but off campus resources as well. “They (the student) may not need them right then, but it may be something they can hold onto and later think ‘Oh, there is someone who can help me with finding scholarship information, a food bank, child care or housing.’” Roberts added, “There are a lot of different things we can help direct students to.”
The intention of the student resource advocate position is to help students stay happy, healthy and in school. Roberts explained that many students remain unaware that this practicum exists and that it is here to help them with their needs. There are other areas where students may need help that the SRA posters may not show. However, that does not mean they cannot help.
“An example,” said Roberts, “is about the end of winter term, I was sent an email from a student needing help with taxes. That had never crossed my mind that that was a need. So I did some research and I found a CPA here in La Grande that is going to offer EOU students a discount to do their taxes. So, she charges anywhere from $25-$50 to do the taxes and she even said if there were international students, she would help international students for free.”
For new students entering into EOU next year, the SRA plans to inform students ahead of time so they know what is available to them during the year. “The SRA will be involved in the week of welcome to get the freshman students aware of what is available for students,” Roberts said. “I am making arrangements for next year’s SRA to give a presentation in the Humanities and CORE classes.” She added, “We are also working with Dr. Carpenter. She’s got a couple of her classes working on helping me help the SRA get branded.”
The SRA is planning to send out a survey to students via email to help inform students of the SRA and gain student views and needs that have not been addressed already.
“The survey will be sent out to all of the students through email. We are trying to get it out during week seven, after midterms, and we will have a drawing. We will have four $25 gift cards from EOU bookstore, so anyone who fills out a survey and wants their name and contact information in the survey will be entered into the drawing and when the survey is over, we will have our drawing and announce the winners.”
Roberts noted that the survey is going to help her find out what students want from the SRA. There may be areas of more importance to students that need to be addressed or a service that is needs more explanation for students to use properly. Roberts explained, “That was one of the things that never crossed my mind and that’s why we’re hoping the survey will give the students a chance to say, ‘Well, actually, this is a need I have,’ or, ‘This is a need I see my friends have.’”
The SRA offers privacy assurance that what happens in the SRA office stays within the office. Students are encouraged to contact the SRA for any needs or questions.
“I think the students like talking to another student,” said Roberts. “I am a student; I am a peer along with the student I am trying to help connect to whatever resource they need. I’m not staff, I’m not a professor, I’m not administration. So, some of the struggles they have, I’ve probably had myself and I can see it from a student stand point. And I want the students to come in and feel this is a safe place and they will not be judged.”
Students are able to contact the Student Resource Advocate at 541-962-4439 or email Here2Help@eou.edu.