Cyguide: Resources for students

Jared Raney

Beginning one’s college career can be challenging and stressful, but students aren’t alone when it comes to handling the situations that come with this new chapter in life.

Students at Iowa State have many resources to take advantage of, whether it’s their first time away from home or they are finishing their college career.

“It can be intimidating for people to think about asking for help or getting resources, but it’s far more common than they would imagine,” said Keith Robinder, director of student assistance and outreach. “It’s just not something that we talk about publicly.”

The Dean of Students Office and Student Assistance and Outreach center are great places to go for any type of assistance, whether it is financial, academic or emotional. This year, these two entities helped roughly 1,500 students with various questions and concerns.

“What we tell students and families when they come to campus is, ‘Whatever your concern or question, if you don’t know where to start, come [to the Dean of Students Office],’” said Michelle Boettcher, assistant dean of students and director of judicial affairs. “We are very rarely the last stop, but what we will do is get students going in the right direction, get them where they need to go.”

Boettcher said the office helps students with concerns regarding faculty, safety, scholarship programs and student legal services, as well as assisting however they can with any personal issues such as a death or illness in the family.

The Dean of Students Office coordinates on a daily basis with ISU police, working to ensure students’ safety and address individual concerns, whether it is minor or life threatening.

“A student might not feel in danger, but they might not know how to discourage someone from contacting them on Facebook or texting them,” Boettcher said. “So it could be even lower-level harassment or just trying to help people understand … and if it’s a threat situation, certainly we’ll work with ISU police on that.”

ISU police also offers a variety of assistance and outreach programs designed to help students. They have Violent Incident Response Training and an active investigations unit. They also work with the Story County Sexual Assault Response Team and host a citizens’ police academy.

“If there are issues with, say, noise ordinance, [ISU police] will share that with us,” Boettcher said. “And we do follow up with students off campus, most of the time we won’t necessarily charge them — though we can. Our point is to sort of educate them and just let them know if this continues there could be university implications.”

Boettcher and Robinder said students often wait too long to find or take advantage of services offered by the university. There are dozens of opportunities for students to get help or enhance their experience at Iowa State if they just take that first step and start looking.