Established in 2007, the Campus Awareness Referral and Education team, CARE, acts as a six-person, cross-functional group at California Lutheran University that helps advocate for, direct and monitor students of concern on campus.
The specific concerns that the CARE team can address include, but are not limited to: mental illnesses, depressed thoughts, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and drug addiction.
According to the CARE website, “The CARE team serves the university and individual students by arranging, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and advocating for students in need of assistance.”
“Through collaboration and coordination of resources, we seek to foster academic and personal success for students,” Chris Paul, Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct and CARE team member, said in an email interview.
Although this team, consisting of various Cal Lutheran faculty members from a broad range of departments, is not a crisis center, the group does meet weekly to discuss certain issues students have and what the staff can do about them.
“The CARE team is not an emergency response group,” Paul said, “However, the team does follow up with students in order to support and retain them. Often, CARE members will refer students to other offices on campus for further support.”
In order to put a struggling student on the CARE team’s radar, any student or staff member must first submit a report to the CARE team’s website or email any concerns to the CARE team.
“We want you to speak up if you see someone struggling,” Angela Naginey, senior director of student success and CARE team member, said in an email interview. “We would like to help in any way we can, but we rely on the campus community to help notify us when they see a member of the community hurting.”
During their weekly meetings, the CARE team will look over reports they have received and, “discuss the concern, and determine the best way to reach out to and support that student if necessary,” Salma Loo, assistant director of Residence Life and Student Conduct and CARE team member said.
“By reaching out, we let students know that people at this university care about one another and want to see each other succeed,” Jodie Kocur, Cal Lutheran psychology professor and CARE team member, said in an email interview. “In those conversations with the student in need, we have the opportunity to learn more about their struggle and to connect them with appropriate university resources. In almost every CARE team meeting, I hear about the ways that this support network is helping students.”
Some students, such as Cal Lutheran Peer Adviser Amanda Slider, see the potential of how the CARE team could benefit incoming freshmen who need to adjust to a new environment.
“I think that it [the CARE team] is an amazing idea,” Slider said. “I would love to incorporate it into a freshman seminar class because it’s something that I think all students should be aware of. I know I’ve had students who had concerns about their friends or roommates and didn’t know who to turn to, so being able to anonymously ask for support is a great thing to have access to.”
According to Naginey, the most difficult part of working with the CARE team is “seeing students struggle,” but team members such as Loo, still see the reward in helping students who are in need.
“I think the name says it all,” Loo said. “Simply put, we care. We care about the well-being of all students in the Cal Lutheran community, and I truly believe we have made a significant impact on the lives of the students who have come across our radar.”
To submit a report, visit www.callutheran.edu/care and click the “submit a report” link beneath the purple header “Submitting a Report,” or email [email protected]
Published March 2nd, 2016