Emergency Response

How SSU is Helping Students Adjust to Stay-at-Home Order

Mason Bryant, Staff Reporter

Since the switch to remote instruction, there have been a lot of changes taking place in not only the way that the university operates, but also the way that students go about their day-to-day lives. The university urged students living on-campus to return home, and some technical concerns have arisen for students who come from homes where internet access, or other technological issues may be a problem, which would undoubtedly impact the effectiveness of their education. This is especially relevant to certain technology-based degree programs, such as graphic design, where normally students would use the computer labs on-campus, which have all of the expensive programs necessary to complete their coursework pre-installed. But now with students at home, often far from campus, there is a gap between technology available and required course work.

In response to this, the Dean of Students sent out a survey to access the needs of the students making the transition, in terms of hardware, software, or other technological accessories, and the Shawnee State University Development Foundation has launched a campaign to help those students who are in need. They have created the Student Emergency Fund: a donation-based financial support method, which will help give qualifying SSU student the resources they need to continue their education online. The campaign ends on Apr. 11 at 12:00 p.m., and all funds donated will be matched by the SSU Development Foundation $1 for $1 up to $15,000 towards the Student Emergency Fund.

The Financial Aid department has compiled a list, based on the survey responses, and the federal cost of attendance metric, of students who are eligible to receive assistance through the Student Emergency Fund. The Financial Aid department will contact the eligible students and further discuss their specific needs and decide what option is best for them. They will either have the funds applied to the students’ financial aid as a bookstore credit, where Barnes & Noble will give out laptops and different technology packages worth approximately $450. This will start at the beginning of the next school year, however, the Financial Aid department will soon begin contacting students with funds available to them. This is good news for those students who have been impacted by the technological difficulties that come along with the transition to online.

As of Apr. 17 at 11:00 p.m., there has been $16,690 donated, which is 83% their $20,000 goal. Of the 61 donors, the majority have been faculty/staff (53%), with the second most donations coming from alumni (41%). The Student Emergency Fund fundraising campaign ends on Apr. 24 at 12:00 p.m. if you would like to join others in donating, you are urged to do so online at https://www.givecampus.com/schools/ShawneeStateUniversity/student-emergency-fund#donations.

Another initiative that has been assisting students in this difficult time is one that most all students should already be familiar with: Bingo. Historically, Bingo has been hosted monthly during school semesters in the UC Ballroom. Current students showed up and competed for a large variety for prizes, from t-shirts, household essentials, and bigger rewards like televisions or Keurig’s. Now, SSU Student Life has upped their game in response to the Coronavirus outbreak and the transition to online instruction. They now host Bingo three times a week: Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., and Thursday at 7:00 p.m. via Facebook live. In this new format, current students compete for a variety of gift cards to local restaurants such as Texas Roadhouse, Subway, Applebee’s, Domino’s and also food delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub. On Tuesday’s, $10 gift cards are awarded to winners; Wednesday’s the amount is upped to $15; and the amount peaks on Thursday to $20.

The Chronicle was able to talk to SSU student and devout bingo player Samantha Cotton and get her thoughts on the new Bingo format: “I absolutely love playing the new Bingo. They’re doing it so often now, and they give away such great prizes for free, there’s always a chance to win something, so I don’t miss a livestream.” Cotton, a five-time Bingo winner since the transition to online, raved about how helpful the gift cards have been: “I have won $80 in gift cards so far, and it has been so helpful to cut down the amount of money that I spend on food, which couldn’t have come at a better time since the pandemic outbreak.” Cotton also praises Student Life for taking the initiative to continue to help SSU students during this crisis: “They really are doing great work, and from the comments in the livestreams you can tell that pretty much everyone that is playing is really excited at the opportunity to win free gift cards.” When asked why students that aren’t currently playing should start, Cotton replied: “It’s just a great opportunity to win free food, which you’re going to spend money on anyway, you might as well have some fun and play a game that could reward you with it so you don’t have to spend all your money on it.”

All students currently enrolled at SSU are eligible to play. To register, email student life your student ID and the name that you use on Facebook and they will reply with your Bingo card, which you are to use for each game. You must register via email by Monday at 10 p.m. if you would like to be eligible to play for that week, all late entries will be processed the following week. You also must register on the Checkpoint app prior to each livestream, in order to be eligible to win. Be sure to like and follow the SSU Student Life Facebook page, and tune into Bingo three days a week.