The university Engagement Centers are working to push students outside of the classroom with a mission to get more students involved on campus.
Located in both the Harrington and Christiana Commons, each center acts as a hub connecting students to programs and events made by Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), university departments and residence assistants.
The Engagement Centers began as a pilot program in the 2016 spring semester, first located in Kent Dining Hall. This past fall, it expanded into the Christiana Commons. The centers urge students to take advantage of opportunities and programs around campus.
Adam Helgeson, the Student Engagement Coordinator said he is pleased with the turnout so far. During the fall semester, he said the centers hosted over 170 programs.
Among the most populated events were the International Cookie Exchange, a part of the “DiversiFriday” series partnership with the English Language Institute, and the Unity Fair, an event that combined several RSOs last semester to foster inclusiveness on campus.
“The University of Delaware has so many amazing opportunities for students,” Helgeson said. “I want to make sure they know that we can offer support in navigating how to match their passions with involvement.”
The new office is meant to serve as a campus resource devoted to encouraging students to take advantage of extracurricular opportunities. Studies show that actively-engaged students are more likely to succeed and graduate from college, Christina King, the assistant director for Student Engagement and Assessment, said.
King works to conceptualize the goals of the centers and maintain relationships with the partner offices on campus to keep the program running smoothly.
“I am constantly trying to get students to recognize that their education spans outside the classroom,” King said.
A calendar on the Residence Life and Housing website lists the daily events of the Engagement Centers. Spaces can be reserved by completing a request form on the website or by contacting the centers to collaborate on programs. The best way to connect and follow updates is through the Engagement Center’s Facebook page, which can be found by searching “@rlhengage.”
The Engagement Centers are currently seeking Engagement Leaders, student-held positions to assist in the program’s operations. The Engagement Leaders would also meet one-on-one with students to coach them on how to effectively incorporate their education to meet their personal goals.
The centers are student-focused. They work to accommodate any request or suggestion to meet students’ needs and goals, Helgeson said. The program is currently working to design initiatives conducive to the needs of the student body with programs ranging from teaching study skills, to providing a space to have a cup of coffee with friends, Helgeson said.
“These spaces are a place for that, where they can think about their goals and what they’re trying to achieve on campus and how they can enhance their full academic experience,” King said.