Fiat Student Whole Health and Academic Success

To succeed in college, as well as beyond, students must demonstrate resoluteness and resilience. They also must avail themselves of resources designed to help them down the path to success. Advising, supplemental instruction, and tutoring are just a few of the services Alfred University offers to help students who may be struggling with their studies.

Of course, factors that contribute to student success go beyond programs aimed at helping them excel in the classroom, lab, and studio. The well-being of students—from a social and mental aspect—play pivotal roles. Helping students overcome emotional and psychological roadblocks is as important to their ultimate success as the development of sound study habits.

To better promote the whole health of our students, Alfred University will be launching the Saxon Success program this academic year. The program is made possible by a significant philanthropic commitment from Alfred University alumna and Board of Trustees member Kristen Caruso Klabin ’92, ’93 M.S., and her husband, Alex. The gift will be used primarily to establish an endowment but also includes some startup funding to hire a program coordinator/mental health counselor in our Wellness Center. The program coordinator/mental health counselor, supervised by Wellness Center Director Del Rey Honeycutt, will oversee a team of first- and second-year graduate assistant students in our College Student Development, School Counseling, and School Psychology programs.

The graduate assistants will meet regularly with our undergraduate students—in the 2020-21 pilot year of the program, the focus will be on sophomores—helping identify problems they are experiencing and proactively addressing them by referring students to the appropriate services on campus. Those services, offered through our Wellness Center, Center for Academic Success, and Center for Advising, include, but are not limited to, supplemental instruction and tutoring as well as counseling. Students also will be advised on Applied Experiential (APEX) Learning Program opportunities through our Career Development Center; and support available through programs offered by our Center for Student Involvement, which include Student Activities and the Institute for Cultural Unity.

The graduate assistants will encourage students to enhance their involvement with valuable co-curricular activities on our campus. They will collaborate with staff and faculty in support of students, notifying them of issues so that they can intervene before they escalate.

For the graduate students, involvement in the Saxon Success program will offer them an impactful, hands-on learning experience.

Kristen notes that: “As a psychology major during my undergraduate studies and then earning a master’s degree from the School Counseling program at Alfred University, I came to appreciate the foundational role played by mental health and wellness. Alex and I want to support a proactive and comprehensive initiative focusing on the whole health and academic success of all Alfred University students.”

Student recruitment and retention are prominent objectives in our University’s strategic plan, and the Saxon Success Program will beneficially enhance both of those efforts.

Please join me in thanking Kristen and Alex Klabin for their generous philanthropic investment in our University. Their commitment to diversifying and strengthening our Wellness Center is both inspiring and impactful.

Fiat student whole health and academic success!