Calumet College of St. Joseph provides key resources to students and for community members

Calumet College of St. Joseph provides key resources to students and for community members

Calumet College of St. Joseph (CCSJ) strives to create a positive environment for both its student body and the surrounding community. There are countless services and programs in place that help facilitate the building and maintenance of this community.

Dionne Jones-Malone, vice president of student engagement and retention, explained a few of these programs CCSJ has in place, including a food pantry, counseling services, and The Sandwich Project.

The food pantry recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in January. The program was created after staff members began to notice many students could benefit from such a program.

“We really felt the need to dig a little deeper and figure out how to address the food insecurity because it's really those basic Maslow needs,” Jones-Malone said. “If you don't have your basics like food and shelter, or you're not in good standing there then you can't focus on your academics.”

The food pantry began as a small office-size room that was converted into a space with refrigerators and shelving to hold food donations. Any monetary donations are used to purchase more food, or better the pantry.

The space has been expanded multiple times within the past ten years, but last year after receiving an anonymous donation, the food pantry was able to do a complete overhaul of the space in order to facilitate the growth it was experiencing due to being such an important resource on campus.

“The food pantry has really become one of the key resources that we can provide to our students,” Jones-Malone said. “We have food pantry days where students come in and they grab whatever they need. We have canned goods; we have ground meat. We're catering to a variety of different food interests: those who are vegetarian, and gluten-free.”

The food pantry is the first food pantry in the area, and it is open to CCSJ students to utilize. It is important to CCSJ staff that there is no stigma surrounding utilizing this resource and they have achieved that goal.

“When we first started the food pantry, I think there was a little bit of a concern as to how we want to market this because we don't want students to have a stigma or have a stigma with students who are needing the resource, but I must say that there is no stigma at all,” Jones-Malone said.

Students are able to utilize this resource along with all the other resources CCSJ provides. Another key resource available for students is counseling services. The counselor on campus provides a number of things to the students including basic counseling and different strategies for mental and physical wellness.

“I think counseling services have really evolved into a different look for counseling,” Jones-Malone said. “Also with that service, there's not any stigma attached to counseling, because now it can be looked at as more of a preventative type of service. Students are using the services not because they have a problem, it’s because hey, it's just a check-in.”

These resources are focused on creating a healthier and well-maintained student body. CCSJ also works to connect and support the community through The Sandwich Project.

Students from clubs, organizations, individuals, and staff members come together to make sandwiches and put together meals for community members, and Port Ministries distributes the meals to community members in need of assistance.

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