New online tool compiles and categorizes resources for students
Binghamton University students now have access to a new, comprehensive resource guide that can direct them to help on campus and in the local community.
Called the Binghamton Support Network (BSN), the guide is an online database where students can find people, offices and organizations that can help with the variety of issues college students face. The BSN sorts issues into eight categories, including academic, emotional, financial, mental health, physical, sex and relationship, social and spiritual. Students can use keywords to search the site for help with specific issues, or find concerns listed alphabetically.
Primary resources are identified with a star, and icons are listed next to the name of resources so students can easily see if they are for emergencies, confidential, on or off campus, and whether or not they are available after regular business hours. The BSN currently includes over 90 resources, which can help students overcome a variety of challenges, such as interpersonal concerns like a relationship breakup or roommate problems, or specific issues that might not apply to every student, such as dealing with culture shock and immigration.
The project was spearheaded by a working group led by Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Health and Wellness Officer Johann Fiore Conte.
“Our campus and the local community offer so many great resources to support students looking for help,” Fiore Conte said, “but it seemed that students were having trouble navigating the variety of options and finding the best resources to address their concerns. The Binghamton Support Network platform gives students one central place to search for and connect with the resources they need, regardless of what they’re looking for.”
Jessica Treadwell, the crisis response manager for Residential Life, supervises the interns in the Residential Life Master of Social Work (MSW) program, and sees the BSN as a fantastic resource for students, as well as the MSW interns.
“A lot of the initial outreach that [the MSW interns] do to reach out to students is to send them a letter via email,” Treadwell said. “The letter lets them know that we’re here to support them and that we can speak to them over the phone or over email, and that we’ll work with them to navigate any questions or concerns they have. One of the things we do in that letter is include a direct link to the Binghamton Support Network, so students can still have a list of resources if they decide they don’t want to meet with an MSW intern.”
Treadwell also believes that this is a great resource for University faculty and staff who might want to know more about the services, on and off campus, available for students and for themselves.
“It’s such a great resource for the MSW interns to provide different resources and avenues of support to the students they’re working with,” Treadwell said. “It’s also very helpful as a go-to resource for our residential staff. If a staff member knows of a student in need of support, but not willing to engage with an MSW intern because they’re not ready to yet, the BSN is a great resource for them to navigate things on their own for the time being.
“The website is amazing,” Treadwell added. “It’s a great information hub for people who might not be ready to engage with other resources or support systems and want to do it on their own.”
Colleen Rozelle, the case management coordinator for the Dean of Students Office, believes that the BSN is an “empowering” resource for the campus community, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has left students feeling overwhelmed.
“Students’ mental health and emotional well-being is a priority for our campus,” Rozelle said. “The pandemic has also highlighted the need for increased mental health and wellness opportunities. The Binghamton Support Network is a one-stop shop for students to not only learn about, but also directly connect with, a multitude of services and resources.”
BethAnn Lubert manages the Binghamton University Call Center, which has been using the BSN to help callers with concerns.
“They rolled it out to us a month ago, and asked us to use it when we get calls coming in from parents and students as a way to direct them to the aid that they need. We’ve been using it, and it’s been great as a resource for our callers, and to refer people to different resources on campus,” Lubert said.
Lubert also believes that the BSN is helpful for the entire campus community, including parents who may be concerned about their child’s success and well-being while they are away at school.
“I spoke to a parent who was concerned about their child falling behind in classes,” Lubert said. “They were looking for resources that they could utilize so we did a quick search using the BSN, and we were able to give them the phone number for tutoring services and the phone number for the Dean of Students Office that the parent was then going to share with their student. It was really nice, because at the beginning of the conversation you could hear that the parent was very concerned and wasn’t quite sure how to help their child, but at the end of the call you could just hear in their voice a sense of relief that they were able to get information that could potentially help their student do better. I think this website is really going to help make a difference on campus.”