KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo hosted its inaugural resource fair Tuesday (March 5), connecting students with campus and community resources that can help them overcome obstacles to success.
Laura Bain-Selbo, resource coordinator, organized the fair, bringing representatives of nearly 20 organizations to educate students on the assistance they can offer with housing, transportation, health care services, child care, volunteer opportunities, and more.
“When you’re in crisis mode, you tend not to think very clearly. You can’t problem-solve very well,” said Bain-Selbo, who began working in this newly-created position in January.
“We have more and more students who are food insecure, transportation insecure, or housing insecure,” she said. “Hopefully, when students have these needs, they’ll be able to remember what they learned today and ask for help.”
Bain-Selbo also is available to connect students with services, working with them one-on-one to learn what they need and connect them solutions. Her job is to help students remove barriers and locate resources to address personal, financial, social, and emotional issues, so they can get back to the business of being students.
Sometimes one immediate need uncovers additional needs she can address, to solve the underlying issue. For example, a student who comes in because he or she doesn’t have money for rent also may not have money for food, and could benefit from some budgeting education, in addition to finding money for rent and receiving food from the Cougar Cupboard.
Transportation is one of the biggest issues Bain-Selbo sees, and she’s spreading the word about Zimride, a ride sharing service available through the One IU app.
“Many of them are living on the edge, juggling a lot of responsibilities, a lot of balls in the air,” she said. “It becomes a crisis when one of those balls drops. We can connect them with the resources to get the balls back in the air.”
Helping students with these personal issues puts them back on the path to academic success, which is her goal.
“Ultimately, we need them to be able to spend their time in class, or spend their time studying, and not have to worry about these other issues,” she said.
Bain-Selbo is available in the Student Life Center (Kelley Student Center, Room 210 C) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays. For more information contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-455-9353.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.