BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
Vital student resources used to be spread out all over the Fort Hays State University campus. That changed last year with the opening of the Fischli-Wills Center for Student Success, named for Richard Fischli and Dolores Wills-Fischli, whose $5 million donation kickstarted the project.
Marketed as a ‘one-stop shop,’ the Center for Student Success houses academic and career services, student engagement, and health and wellness services all under one roof. According to Joey Linn, vice president for student affairs, the building has already made an impact on students.
“What happened is, we heard from students ‘I didn’t even know we had all of this,’” Linn said. “Before, [the resources] were scattered all over campus. If I was meeting with a student, I’d tell them about the counseling center in the basement of Picken Hall, and then I’d wonder if I didn’t walk them there, would they really find it?”
Academic and career resources are located on the first floor. This includes the offices of most academic advisors, general education tutoring services, the career clothing closet, and resume reviews.
“It’s all free,” Taylor Kriley noted. “It’s part of what students pay to have here.”
As Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Kriley’s work deals with both academic and career services, as well as student engagement, which is located on the second floor of the Center for Student Success.
“Part of our mission is to create engaged, global citizen leaders,” she said. “That’s really the heart of the second floor, helping students get connected to clubs, organizations, and activities that will help them educationally and socially develop their leadership capacity.”
According to Kriley, having one building for resources has been a “game changer” when it comes to helping direct students to what they need. She also spoke about the importance of utilizing each service.
“My biggest piece of advice to students is to just try it. Come over, study, meet a staff person, engage in the services, and I guarantee it will take their experience at Fort Hays to a better level,” Kriley said.
The third floor is where students can go for any kind of health and wellness services. Two nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, and a doctor provide medical services such as physicals, STI testing, allergy shots, and general care. Students can purchase medicine for a cheaper cost through the campus pharmacy as well. Affordable costs for medical services can be determined for students without insurance.
“We also have personal counseling,” said Director of Health and Wellness Gina Smith. “We deal with homesickness, anxiety, depression, dating issues, and any kind of stress. Then we also have drug and alcohol counseling.”
In addition, the health and wellness services also cover accessibility, providing students with resources like academic assistance.
“If a student needs to be evaluated to see if they do need assistance, we work with the Psychology department to see how we can help them,” Smith explained.
Another resource located in the Center for Student Success is the Welcome Center. However, this resource is utilized by prospective students who visit campus.
“The Welcome Center is a state-of-the-art, awesome way for students to come in and get a look at the university and a look at the facilities,” Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dennis King said.
King also noted that welcoming visitors in the Center for Student Success has been a benefit to the tour process, which previously started in Picken Hall.
“Some people get here thirty minutes to an hour before their tour,” he said. “In Picken Hall, they were kind of limited in the places they could go explore. Here, they can walk down and get Starbucks, walk through the second floor, and see the resources and students here to get a better feel for campus.”
More information about each service and its hours can be found on the Center for Student Success website.