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SSU Students Find Support During COVID-19

By Audrey Stratton | Local Happenings

The Student Life Department at Shawnee State University is a major support system for the students on campus. From the time they step foot on campus freshman year to the time they leave, they join a family with memories to last a lifetime.

Tiffany Hartman is the director of Student Life. They are responsible for many initiatives that support the mission of SSU. These things include their annual Weekend of Welcome “WOW”(for incoming freshmen), Celebrating Student Success (for sophomores and juniors), and the Bear Necessities Pantry (a service that helps students struggling with food insecurity and hunger).

When talking to alumni, they often get the feedback that they are the reason they were able to excel in college. Student Life has many departments that fall under them. These include: the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, the Women’s & Gender Equity Center, Student Government Association, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Student Programming Board, and all of the Student Organizations.

Their team is made up of Administrative Assistant, Jonna Cook, the Student Life and Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, Marlita Cadogan, and the Women’s & Gender Equity Center Coordinator, Christina Baker. Marcie Simms, the Dean of Students, oversees the Student Life Department. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in all of the students leaving campus for the remainder of the spring semester, a lot of activities and programs were cancelled. Seeing as students are the biggest part of their job and all of the challenges they would now face with online instruction, they knew they had to get creative. 

They knew without a doubt they had to keep the Bear Necessities Pantry. Even with many students going home, some housing students would remain on campus for internet access and the local commuters would still need the support. For their programming, they came up with a variety of creative ideas.

One of the most popular events on campus is the monthly BINGO, so they decided to continue to have it on Facebook Live. They brought in several “special guests” including President Dr. Bauer who spoke about the pandemic, and other guests who spoke about Title IX, and career readiness.

With the help of our Communications Office, they were able to have “Spot the Difference” photo contests on Facebook as well. This generated a lot of student, alumni, and community engagement.

Even TikTok was used to keep the students entertained and active with Student Life. With many other events that took place, they plan to continue those fun activities into the summer!

Their efforts have proven to be successful. They are averaging 8-10 visitors daily at the pantry with 90 students on Bingo. With their last Bingo, they had over 200 students. 

They are definitely ready for fall semester, and have high hopes that campus will be fully open so they can welcome the incoming freshman, along with the many other familiar faces they see every day. As a current student of Shawnee State, I can say that they are essential to life on campus and they have been a major support system to myself and students campus-wide.


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