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House Calls

Academic Achievement Center staff reaching out to residence halls 

During the height of the pandemic, the Academic Achievement Center (AAC) at Bridgewater State University was forced to pivot. Some of the adjustments revealed areas where things could be improved.    

“Over the past few years, we have been very intentional when looking at programming and communication methods,” said Bethany Hall, director of academic advising in the AAC. “Post-pandemic we realize students are looking for information that’s more in their face, that emails aren’t enough.” 

The AAC, located on the ground floor of the Maxwell Library, provides academic support and resources.   

When reaching out to students to share information about the AAC, emails have traditionally been the official means of communication, but Hall and her team realized it wasn’t working.   

“It led us to think, ‘What else can we do?’” Hall said.   

To reach more students and let them know about the AAC, one of the new initiatives is to send peer advisors to set up information stations inside residence halls. 

We want to meet students where they are, to move into student spaces and literally be there for them,” Hall said.   

Darren Smith, ’23, has worked as a peer advisor for the past two years and was part of the inaugural group who set up shop in a high traffic area inside Shea Durgin Hall last semester.   

“I think it’s a great idea, having us go to the residence halls,” he said. “It helps draw students in and gives them a different perspective and allows us to show them there are accessible resources on campus.” 

Smith said he often works with first-year students, but it’s important that all students realize they have access to the AAC and advisors.  

Even being a senior, you still might not know where certain resources can be found on campus. Or it can be confusing having classes both in-person or online. Every person is different, but we are here to help everybody,” he said.   

AAC peer advisors will be set up in residence halls again on March 28, April 4, and April 11.   

The timing, Smith said, is deliberate  

The end of March, early April, there is often a lot of stress. You have to start thinking about finals, registration...Students can use resources like the AAC so they don’t fall behind,” he said.   

Academic advisor Meghan Olbrys encourages students, when they see the peer advisors positioned in the residence halls, to stop by and ask questions, to advocate for themselves when it comes to their education.   

“It’s your degree, your name is on that diploma. This is a chance for you to have someone to turn to, to take control of your education. Come learn about the supports the AAC has offer. We are here to help,” she said.   

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