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New UC Arts and Sciences Cares initiative connects A&S students in need with assistance

A young man and woman stock shelves in a storeroom.

Students stock the Bearcat Pantry at 2158 French Hall West. Many students referred by faculty to UC advisors last year cited financial distress, including a need for food assistance. The Bearcat Pantry launched in 2016 to help meet the insecurity needs of UC students.

University of Cincinnati students in distress have a variety of resources to turn to on campus. Now a new initiative offered this fall by the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences is making it easier for A&S students to find the help they need.

A&S students in need of support or assistance are encouraged to email the college at ArtSciCares@uc.edu with information about their situation or need. The college’s student support office oversees the account and will follow up with students and work to connect them with the appropriate resources.

Lisa Holstrom, the college’s senior assistant dean of academic services, created the centralized email account last year for use among A&S faculty after a growing number of professors referred students to her for assistance.

“When faculty notice a student who needs some extra TLC, they shouldn’t have to decide who to send it to. They just need to know one email, and once they’ve made the referral, someone else will do the triage,” she said. “We are one team, faculty and staff, working together for student success.”

This is one way we can show students that our hearts and heads are aligned. Our college truly cares.

Lisa Holstrom

Financial issues loomed large among the 60 referrals made to Holstrom’s office last year.  In one case, a student couldn’t afford books for a class, and Holstrom was able to funnel scholarship funds her way. 

In another case, a professor referred a student to Holstrom after the student missed a morning class for two weeks. Holstrom discovered that the student was working three jobs, one of which extended into the early morning hours.

Other issues have ranged from homelessness and food pantry needs to anxiety issues, she said. 

“I haven’t had a student yet say, ‘It’s none of your business,’” she said. “They’ve all been very grateful. They’ve been surprised that somebody cares.”

Holstrom’s office is now distributing the email account for A&S students to use. She realizes doing so could result in a flurry of referral requests, but says the initiative is simply part of the college’s mission of showing students it cares.

“This is one way we can show students that our hearts and heads are aligned,” she said. “Our college truly cares.”

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