The Jayhawk Hub, a one-stop location for providing MCC students with a wider range of student support services and resources ranging from a food pantry to tax preparation, opened Jan. 14 in Room 133 across from the Carr-Fles Planetarium.
“To me, this is one of most important facilities and endeavors that we’ve been involved with in terms of what it will mean to our students,” explained John Selmon, the MCC executive vice president and provost. “This is another excellent example of the institution’s commitment to supporting student success and completion initiatives. It’s just simply Jayhawks helping Jayhawks.”
During the past year, Selmon and Sally Birkam, the MCC Dean of Student Success and Campus Life, have worked on adding critical new support services for the college’s students with a hope that a centralized, easy-to-access space would become available to house them. When the Medical Assistant program relocated to the newly opened Health and Wellness Center in December, the Jayhawk Hub moved in and their dream became a reality.
Birkam and her Student Success Department staff, who will oversee and staff the Jayhawk Hub, were busy between the Fall and Winter Semesters readying the 660 sq. ft. space as the new home for a wide gamut of services. These include:
- The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) foster care education worker and the benefits worker, who were brought to campus this past year to assist students 12 hours a week, are moving from the Disability Support Services Office;
- The Jayhawk Pantry, which since its inception last October has provided food to more than 300 MCC students who would otherwise have gone hungry, is moving from the Library and will be increasing open hours to approximately 20 hours a week;
- The Al-Anon weekly meeting, started last September, is moving from Stevenson Center Room 1228; and
- Goodwill Industries free tax preparation services to qualified MCC students will be provided in the Jayhawk Hub twice a week between February 1 and April 15;
“We are working with Goodwill to offer some other courses that they have for career and resume services for their clients that attend here,” said Birkam. “Health West will be involved here offering periodic m
ental health seminars. The counselors will be bringing the programs that they have done, like sexual assault, bystander training and opioid crisis.”
Birkam also said that the MCC counselors are exploring the possibility of support groups for autism and PTSD.
“We’re still building and looking, so if there are any outside groups that want to contact me about participating or if they have services, I would love to talk with them,” said Birkham, who can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (231) 777-0328.
“We have a number of faculty and staff, such as Dr. Andy Wible and others, who have been involved with the Jayhawk Pantry,” said Selmon.
The creation of the Jayhawk Hub directly addresses one of MCC’s 2017-22 strategic priorities, namely, to strengthen the campus culture of inclusion, equity, accountability, safety and well-being. Statistics revealed that in 2016 more than one-third of Michigan’s K-12 student were from low-income families and 15 percent were living in poverty. Nationally, housing insecurity (51 percent) and food insecurity (30%) were major concerns among U.S. college students in 2017.
“I am extremely excited about this,” Birkam said of the Jayhawk Hub. “We’ve already been able to see the benefits when we’ve been able to connect with students here and there. But now we have one place where we are connecting with them. Hopefully, the Jayhawk Hub will help the students understand that there are community resources available when they get into a panic about something, and that they don’t necessarily have to just quit or change their plans if they have outside concerns that are hindering them.”
The Jayhawk Hub, which is free to all MCC students, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, although the doors are closed for meetings in session. An up-to-date schedule is posted outside the Jayhawk Hub door.