Virtual student affairs meeting eases coronavirus worries


The beginning of a new school year is always stressful. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it. To relieve some of this stress, Student Affairs held a virtual meeting on Aug. 12, open to all students.

There were several administrators and staff speakers who took the opportunity to talk about their respective departments, what they do and the changes that have come along with COVID-19.

The director of the University Police Department, Tom Torregrossa, talked about on-campus safety issues. He spoke about ULM’s Safe App, which can be used as a quick way to contact campus police or report something to them. Students can also report problems through the silent witness form that can be found on the school website.

We also heard from Kristin Chandler, Director of the Career Center. She presented some vital information about career preparedness for students. There is career coaching available for students in the Career Center that can be helpful for students who aren’t exactly sure what they want to do.

“There is a common misconception that students should not come see us until their junior and senior year,” Chandler said. “That is not true. They definitely should start out their freshman year.” Students can take what’s called a Focus 2 Assessment, which is a test that can help you decide what kind of career path is right for you. She said it’s a helpful tool that every incoming freshman should be required to take.

The Career Center is also involved with Handshake, which LaShawn Smith, ULM’s assistant director of career development, spoke about. She said that Handshake is like LinkedIn for college students. She also mentioned that the fall Career Fair is virtual this year and to attend students must have their Handshake profile set up.

The Director of Recreational Services, Brandon Bruscato, talked about the Activity Center and intramural sports. He said that they will still be hosting intramurals as well as group exercise classes as there is plenty of room for social distancing in the Activity Center. Masks will be required and temperatures will be taken but they will remain open for their normal operational hours. He also touched base on the food pantry, which will still be open this semester and is available to all students.

The Counseling Center will also remain open during its regular business hours. Crisis support will be available during these hours and if a student is in crisis after hours, they should call the University Police Department. There are also COVID tests available in the clinic and the results take two to four days to come back. The Director of the Counseling Center, Karen Foster, spoke more about this in a Youtube video, “Affinity Health ULM Center.”

Chrissie Autin, Director of Event Services, talked about all of the places that Event Services is responsible for, including Bayou Pointe, the Hangar, the Student Center, the Terrace and the University and Delano Houses. Events will still be held in these buildings but there will be a 50 person limit.

“We’re here to serve you this fall,” Autin said. “If you do have an event with 50 or less people that you need to have, we would definitely love to hear from you.”

There will be many events held at the beginning of the semester during Week of Welcome, which has been extended to two weeks this semester. The Director of Student Life and Leadership, Emily Essex, said that one of the goals for this semester is for students to still be able to meet with their RSOs.

“We want to just always maintain the interaction with the students whether it be through Zoom or face-to-face,” Essex said.

Many RSO meetings will be happening virtually this semester and meeting times can be found on Wingspan.

The last speaker was Tommy Walpole, Director of Auxiliary Enterprises, which is responsible for the bookstore, post office, copy center, dining services and off-campus living. He said that all restaurants

in the SUB will be in operation and Event Services staff will be taking temperatures and checking for masks in Schulze.