By Jada Copeland, External Relations Student Employee
COVID-19 has definitely placed me and several other students in a bind. Many of us have had to change our academic, work, and social environments which has had a negative impact on us. For instance, many students who work have lost hours and the ability to have jobs. Fortunately, William & Mary, especially W&M Libraries, has helped find ways to help student employees who are in need of working during the pandemic.
Before COVID-19, the external relations department had been working on ways to improve outreach and communication with students that identify with different communities on campus. I am proud to continue working on this platform from home to ensure that students are receiving as much help as possible once returning to campus in the future.
As a student employee in the external relations department, I have been working on a plan to increase outreach and engagement with students that are not fully aware of all the resources and services W&M Libraries offer. My primary focus is on first-generation, off-campus, international, and transfer students. I have interviewed these demographics and found there is a lack of information, and our department is taking the initiative to change this.
With my own experience as a first-generation college student that lives off-campus, I have had the opportunity to learn more about W&M Library resources solely due to my working in my department. There are so many resources I wish I would have known about in my earlier years here at the university. Also, as a minority student, I believe it is essential to have an outreach project for students who may not have any prior knowledge of college or its libraries. With this process, I have found numerous resources that I did not know about as well and continue to learn more about what our libraries offer.
This entire process has involved many web searches and finding the different orientations/programs the university offers for new students. Currently, I am still developing more efficient ways these resources can be distributed to students which have the potential to help with textbook affordability, cut down outside costs that students pay for courses, and so much more. I hope to receive more input from other students to make sure students can have better access to everything we offer.