A community building program for students, faculty, and staff of Stark State College
I designed Your Story, Your Community, Your College in the summer of 2014, and, with the support, collaboration, and input of Interfaith Campus Ministry and Student Success services, the program began in the fall of 2014. The program continues to this day under the headship of Interfaith Campus Ministry and is designed to build student community and success by developing relationships among students and faculty/staff in informal, small group settings bi-semesterly.
Stark State is a commuter college. Student life and a sense of community can be challenging to maintain. Typically, students spend most of their time on campus listening to and following instructions from faculty and staff. However, at Your Story events, students have the opportunity to share their stories by answering meaningful questions about their lives, families, faith, and community. One or two faculty/staff members and 5 or 6 students sit around each of several small tables with a light lunch, and faculty/staff facilitate the conversations by asking questions and listening. In this way, students develop relationships with fellow students they may not have initially noticed and also become more familiar with campus personnel and resources such as success coaches, professors, counseling (career, personal, or faith), advising, tutoring, disability services, campus clubs, etc. Further, the program promotes collaboration among faculty and staff, as we purposely select them from different departments and divisions.