Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

New services offered on campus

Over the past year Augustana acquired Farrah Roberts, Director of the Department of Student Well-Being and Resilicy, Kam Williams, Director of Disability Services, Xong Sony Yang, Director at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) and Juanita Trevino-Perez, an International Student Advisor.
Farrah Roberts, Director of Student Well-Being and Resiliency, started July of this year to head the brand new department. When asked the purpose of the department, Roberts said, “We’re looking at how to make sure students are fulfilled, live authentic lives and at the same time we want them to be able to come back from the challenges that they face here in college.”

Ms. Farah Roberts in her office. Roberts is the Director of Student Well-Being and Resiliency. Photo by Aakash Manandhar.

As of right now, Roberts has big plans. One of her goals includes introducing a resiliency curriculum.
Resiliency curriculum includes courses aimed towards how to deal with various situations and how to bounce back from those situations. Roberts aims to incorporate this curriculum into the first year classes to spread more awareness and information about mental health, hosting workshops on resilience, healthy dating, brain body connection and grief and loss.
Her ultimate goal is to introduce all first year students to resilience and emotional well-being.
Roberts said, “I hope they know there is someone on campus with concerns that aren’t academic. There are things we can work on together to improve their circumstances here at Augustana. Whether it’s loneliness, not fitting in or not finding one’s place.”
Roberts’ ultimate goal is to create a hub of resources, connecting students to what they need to be their best possible self.
Kam Williams was hired this year as the Director of Disability Services. Williams is the facilitator and liaison between students, faculty and staff in helping them with many things.
Ms. Kam Williams in her office. Williams is the Director of Disability Services. Photo by Aakash Manandhar.

For example, in academic accommodations, campus accessibility, training to the entire campus and emphasizing the importance of the American with Disability Act (ADA) along with implementing the practices the ADA requires.
Williams said, “Disability rights are civil rights. It’s about equity. It’s about education. Disability is about diversity. I want to help them see students and persons with disabilities as equal.”
Disability services is integrated all through the school and academia. The department aligns students with an academic accommodation letter to privately present to professors, provides advocacy, working with the facilities and housing to make the campus more accessible and continual educating of faculty, staff and students.
Obviously not all of campus is accessible due to how many stairs there are, but Williams’ ultimate goal is to get Augustana on the 100 most accessible colleges list.
Williams said, “I want them to know it’s a part of diversity. That they are valued, they are seen, they are understood and I am here to be that support for our students as well as the faculty.” The services are free of charge and everything is private and confidential.
Not only has Augustana made efforts to become more accessible for it’s students, but it is also working towards efforts to increase diversity and opportunities for international students.
Xong Sony Yang, Director at the Office of OISSS, is in charge of the Global Ambassadors, the Global Engagement Team and many other efforts to make adjusting to life here at Augustana easier for international students.
Ms. Xong Sony Yang outside her office. Sony Yang is the Director of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. Photo by Aakash Manandhar.

“I welcome the opportunity to diversify the campus and embrace perspectives that would benefit a global campus, reflective of the world we live in today,” Yang said.
Juanita Trevino-Perez is also a part of administration helping to make lives at Augustana easier for international students. Trevino-Perez is an International Student Advisor in charge of a lot of the documentation needed for Augustana’s international student life.
Ms. Juanita Perez outside OISS. Perez is the International Student Advisor. Photo by Aakash Manandhar.

“I focus on the immigration piece, she (Yang) focuses on more of the programming, and is also very knowledgeable when it comes to immigration as well,” Trevino-Perez says.
Over the last two years the number of international students has grown exponentially at Augustana and so the OISSS has become even more essential to the success of international students.
“It creates a base for them to come and feel comfortable,” Trevino-Perez says about the importance of the OISSS.
With new members of administration, Roberts, Williams, Yang and Trevino-Perez; Augustana is working to make life for students easier on campus with new movements focused on student well being, accessibility and international student services.
Each of the new administrators can be reached at their Augustana emails. If you would like to meet with them in person, their offices can be found on the Augustana website.
Brittnany Nelson contributed to this article

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    Blake BorgardtOct 1, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Extremely well written!

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