In 2017, the housing accessibility initiative was brought forth in the Student Senate 3-year plan. The initiative focuses on students’ housing as an effort to help alleviate student homelessness and other housing insecurities, as stable housing is directly correlated to student success.
Senate began working on this initiative during the 2017-2018 academic year by creating a Facebook page (not affiliated with Madison College) where students can list and look for roommates and other housing options: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2198403790446433/.
The 2018-2019 Senate is continuing the work on the housing initiative with two specified goals. The first goal is a general research initiative, where Senators on the Housing Accessibility committee and other interested persons will gather and compile research to be used by future Senate groups. The purpose of this research is to identify what other colleges have done/are doing, what possibilities exist in guiding this initiative, and who we might be able to partner with. The second goal is to create and conduct a student-wide survey regarding housing insecurities. The purpose of this survey is to identify the issues surrounding student housing accessibility specific to Madison College, and the results of this survey will be used by future Senators in further endeavors to help end student homelessness and other issues surrounding housing insecurity. As has been done in the past, Senators plan to work closely with administration throughout this initiative to ensure cohesive success for students.
Below is a definition of homelessness to be used by future Senate groups to ensure consistency in its future use.
Homelessness- lacking a home or place of residence; includes individuals whose primary residence is a public and/or supervised facility (such as a shelter, vehicle, etc.) as well as individuals who are unable to maintain a stable living place.
Advising, Retention, and Counseling (ARC)
In alignment with Madison College’s effort to improve services for students, the Student Senate will work to maintain representation with and contribute to the advancement of the CARES (Collect, Assess, Refer, Enhance personal education plan, Successful outcomes) Title III team, Student Development and Retention Services (SDRS), as well as other areas in the college. The following points were formulated with consideration to 2018 Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) data:
Improve the consistency, accuracy, and variety of information and resources to students by advisors and counselors (e.g. transfer knowledge, scholarships, internship)
Ensure adequate time and promptness with advisors and counselors to thoughtfully address student needs and concerns (e.g. work, family, English as Second Language (ESL))
Increase outreach to ‘at-risk’ students to prevent withdrawals and Fs (e.g. Early Alert, follow up surveys, Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) status)
Provide easy-to-use and accessible academic tools to students (e.g. Transfer Wizard, student feedback
Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) Comments Regarding ARC
“I was assigned a different advisor than the one I go to. My faculty adviser is prompt direct and spends more than the 25 typical minutes with me. We actually have a CONVERSATION about life, rather than just talk about courses and leave.”
“However, I found the quality of advisors to be spotty. I have also found myself unaware of many events happening on campus until the day of. Additionally, I’ve noticed that some professors may assume that everyone is on the same level. I am a non traditional student and soon to be a first generation degree holder and I found the assumption of my prior knowledge frustrating at times. Overall, I have enjoyed my time at Madison College and value the education I have received.”
In 2017, Madison College’s Student Senate surveyed more than 1,100 students concerning food security. After the survey, executive leadership found that the information was critical to the success of students at the college and created the Food Security Impact Team. Student Senate’s survey discovered that 37 percent of the respondents reported skipping meals within the last 30 days because they did not have enough money for food. The results also alluded that full-time students tend to have a higher food insecurity than those who are part-time. These results have warranted the need to address food insecurity on the Madison College campus.
Additional research conducted by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab in 2015, stated that community colleges indicated 52% of students were food insecure. Food insecurity occurs when individuals or households are unable to adequately meet basic food and nutritional needs in socially acceptable ways. Food insecure households are classified as experiencing “low food security” or “very low food security” depending on the extent to which individuals reduce their food intake, because of the lack of resources to acquire adequate amounts of food. Marginal food security refers to households that meet the standard for food security, but show some indications of food insecurity. These households are “at risk” for food insecurity. The charge of the impact team was to develop immediate and long-term objectives and outcomes that addressed the food insecurity concern at Madison College.
After multiple brainstorming sessions, researching the Wisconsin Technical College System, the Madison College District, the college campus, connecting with community organizations, the impact team identified best practices and activities that would benefit students to combat food insecurity.
The Student Senate supports and will pursue the impact team's following recommendations.
The Madison College Food Resource Guide is a valuable source of information to inform people on various programs, financial resources, and agencies that could provide relief when facing food insecurity situations. It provides an extensive overview of the Madison College District encompassing all 16 counties that represent the college.