January Member Feature: Columbus State Community College Delaware Campus Connect2Complete

Connect2Complete student at Columbus State Community College Delaware campus assists with a suicide prevention video for Helpline

Columbus State Community College’s Delaware campus is very intimate, serving around 1800 students. We are constantly asking ourselves how we can best meet the needs of our students. There are a couple of service-learning classes where students are able to serve the community and apply that experience to enhance the classroom learning. We also provide opportunities for students to engage in service outside of the classroom with our large Day of Service and with smaller service events throughout the year. Columbus State Delaware supports Day of Service by canceling classes and encouraging students, faculty, and staff to serve with our community partners. We also provide students with opportunities to serve with short and simple Service on the Go projects in between classes such as making blankets, writing a letter to a Veteran, and making toys.

Not only does Columbus State Delaware provide opportunities for students to serve, but we also serve students. All students including traditional, first generation, non-traditional, low-socioeconomic students have needs beyond the classroom. We provide free tutoring and accommodations for disabilities, however, sometimes that is not enough. With help from the Ohio Campus Compact Connect2Complete program we are able to have Peer Advocates – peer to peer mentoring and advocacy. This means a students can speak to a peer about how to navigate institutional process or ask questions that they are uncomfortable asking an older adult. Peer Advocates are also trained Ohio Benefit Bank Counselors, which allows the students to have the opportunity to receive financial help for their basic needs. Connect2Complete also provides a food pantry for students who struggle with food security here at Columbus State Delaware. The Connect2Complete program is designed to meet the needs of students in a holistic and non-judgmental way. Connect2Complete desires for every student to be successful no matter the barriers. The program supports the students by helping to provide basic needs and engages students through service to provide a sense of belonging and purpose.

The Connect2Complete program is very unique because it looks at all aspects of the student. Columbus State Delaware was able to work with a local organization, Helpline, to create a suicide prevention video. This was an amazing opportunity for students to share their stories and to help others who struggle with mental health or suicidal thoughts. One student who helped create the video also had an interest in theater and acting, therefore, this video not only can be added to his portfolio, but help him see how he can give back to the community. The Media professor who filmed the video will use the raw film cuts to allow his class to work on editing and creating. The finished video will be used by Helpline along with Columbus State Delaware to reach out to those in need. This type of collaboration embodies the spirit of the Connect2Complete program.

Columbus State understands the value of the Connect2Complete program and desires to implement the principles moving forward. The campus is in the process of hiring a Student Engagement Coordinator which would be the perfect person to supervise the Peer Advocates once my service year is complete. The Columbus State Columbus Campus has already established Peer Advocates on their campus after the successful OCC VISTA Connect2Complete program development, therefore, it is an easy transition to also maintain Peer Advocates on the Delaware Campus.

Written by guest blogger Averee Fields

Edited by Brenna Limbrick