On Deck with Student Affairs

October 15, 2017

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2017 Orientation Assistant
Application Deadline - October 25th
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Pirates Around the World in 7 Days
October 16-21, 2017

Archived Editions

New Student Center Topping Off Ceremony
Written by Crystal Baity, News Services

Topping Off Ceremony 2017

A tower crane carried the final beam of the new East Carolina University student center to its destination under a beautiful blue, fall sky on Oct. 4.

Ten years in the making, ECU administrators, faculty, staff and students gathered at the building site off 10th Street for a topping off, or topping out, ceremony to commemorate the installation of the final beam in the construction project.

“This signals the construction project is well on its way to completion,” said Dr. Cecil Staton, chancellor of ECU. “It will be a living room for our university.”

Scheduled to open in November 2018, the 210,000-square-foot facility – almost the equivalent of four and a half football fields – will house many student-focused departments including SGA, the Office of Student Activities and Organizations, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, the Jesse Peel LGBT Resource Center and Dowdy Student Stores. Amenities will include a black box theater, a 14,000-square-foot ballroom, six dining options and a 24-by-42 outdoor Pirate Vision digital screen. A 700-space parking deck also is being built.

The center is part of the $160 million ECU Student Centers Project, which includes the Health Sciences Campus Student Center that opened in May.

CLICK HERE to read the complete story.

CLICK HERE for a video highlighting the ceremony.

Student Media Hosts Diversity Training for Students/StaffCulture Poster
Submitted by John Harvey, Student Media Director

On September 21, ECU Student Media participated in “Culture, Context, Coverage, Communication,” a discussion of inclusivity and diversity in reporting.


More than 71 students attended the training that was led by Toya S. Jacobs, diversity and inclusion program manager for the Office for Equity and Diversity at ECU, and Meredith Morgan, OED’s program specialist for Diversity and Inclusion Education and Training.


The two led the students through a discussion on biases related to race, ethnicity and disabilities, focusing on how to avoid them in student media. They warned the students on “The danger of a single story” as presented in a video by Nigerian born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The presentation reminded students to get the full story and to not see any person or situation through a single lens.


Student Media Director John Harvey said the first-time training for all students in the department was designed to include an honest discussion of diversity and racial bias confronted by media.


“It is vitally important for anyone in the media, whether as a reporter or a radio personality, to open up and try to better understand all cultures within the community he or she serves,” Harvey said. “A big thanks goes to the presenters, our organizers and the students themselves for participating.”


Student Media at ECU includes The East Carolinian newspaper; WZMB 91.3 FM radio; Rebel, The Hook and expressions magazines; Buccaneer yearbook and the Advertising & Marketing Agency.


Student Media Advisor Terrence Dove and The East Carolinian Administrative Adviser Cherie Speller co-chaired the workshop.

Netflix and ChatNetflix and Chat

On September 21st, Student Affairs departments debuted a new program focusing on the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why". This hour long program featured an overview of the thirteen episode series and included a panel of ECU professional staff. Several clips were shown to those in attendance with conversations following each clip that covered topics such as mental health, sexual assault, and an opportunity to plug upcoming events and available resources on campus.  At the end of the program, students had the opportunity to ask additional questions.


This first event saw approximately 75 students in attendance who were engaged and expressed their strong support of the program following the discussion.


According to Lauren Thorn, Interim Associate Dean of Students, a discussion between the Dean of Students Office and the Student Activities Board Films committee took place last semester regarding what students are watching on television and how that can be used in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Netflix Panelist


“We wanted to provide an opportunity for the ECU community to have those difficult conversations that focused on culturally-relevant touch points,” said Thorn.  “From that discussion the series Netflix and Chat was created.  The goal is to focus on three Netflix series, specials, or movies each semester.  Upcoming programs will include "Dear White People", "Last Chance U" and "Burning Sands".”  


The next Netflix and Chat will be held on November 2 at 5:30pm in MSC 244.  "Dear White People" will be the featured series viewed and discussed.  This series focuses on race relations on campus and how the media can influence these situations.  In addition to professional staff, the panelist for this discussion will also include student representation.  This Wellness Passport event is free and open to the entire ECU community.

Hurricane Relief and RecoveryHurricane Relief
Submitted by Dr. Dennis McCunney, CLCE Director

We’ve witnessed both tragic destruction as well as amazing examples of humanity over the past few weeks with Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Below are a few updates from the CLCE team related to hurricane relief and recovery on campus:


  • Elite Pirates, RHA, Campus Living, and Dining Services recently partnered together to raise hurricane relief funds through donated Pirate Bucks. More than $4,700 was raised. This was a great collaborative effort led by students! CLICK HERE to read more.
  • The Student Leadership Board through the College of Business has launched a donation drive with strong financial support from ECU alum David Bond. The SLB has been working with partners around campus -- SGA, Greek Life, American Marketing Association, CLCE, and others – to launch this drive and send a trailer full of non-perishable food items to the Jacksonville, Florida Food Bank. This donation drive will run from Oct. 4-19; the trailer will be parked next to Minges Coliseum and will be accepting donations at specified times throughout the day. Please consider donating and supporting this student-led effort. CLICK HERE to learn more.
  • Lastly, BreakAway is a professional association that helps campuses develop high-quality alternative break programs, and ECU Student Affairs is a member campus. BreakAway recently hosted a national webinar titled The Role of Alternative Breaks in Disaster Response to provide guidance to campuses asking how they can help with relief and recovery efforts. The key message from this discussion was that campuses should wait to plan trips until local communities know what specific help they need to rebuild. For now, campuses should – ideally – focus on charitable giving. Once communities begin the process of rebuilding, then campuses should consider how they can support those efforts by providing short-term volunteers. CLICK HERE to read the full BreakAway statement. CLCE and the Alternative Break Experiences planning committee will continue to plan short-term immersion experiences that are in the best interests of our students and partner communities.


Contact Nichelle Shuck or Dennis McCunney in CLCE if you are interested in learning more about ABE programming or other hurricane relief efforts.

Student Affairs Making HeadlinesMaking Headlines2

  • The North Recreational Complex was recently featured in Industry Leadership, a national publication, as an Outstanding Venue.

  • Stephen Wright, Technology Support Analyst, co-presented Digital Signage, keep it simple at the UNC CAUSE conference on October 2nd. UNC CAUSE is an organization composed of the management and staff of the information technology based units of the 16 campuses of the UNC system. The organization exists for the purpose of promoting and facilitating cooperation, information exchange and technology leverage between the campuses of the UNC System in all areas related to information technology.
  • While in Miami, FL for a recent meet, ECU Club Ice Hockey volunteered their time with Feeding South Florida (food bank) to help end hunger in South Florida. They moved over 5,000 pounds of food in about an hour and were able to provide over 4,000 meals to people in need.  On the ice, after playing back to back weekends in Miami and Atlanta, the Pirates return to Greenville to face Elon on Oct. 20 at 9:45pm at the Carolina Ice Zone. 

Club Ice Hockey

ECU to host former American football defense end Michael SamMichael Sam

The Ledonia Wright Cultural Center and LGBT Resource Office will host Michael Sam at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 in Mendenhall Student Center’s Hendrix Theatre.


Sam, an NCAA All-American Football Player, NFL Free Agent and LGBT Athlete, will deliver a presentation called “From Hitchcock High to the NFL, I am Michael Sam.”


His message is to encourage people to boldly and courageously pursue their dreams and define their success using his impassioned personal story of resilience over life’s challenges.


The University of Missouri football star was primed for an early round draft selection in the 2014 NFL draft. However Sam’s on-field talents were nearly sidelined when he came out as gay during an ESPN interview. His announcement sent shockwaves throughout the sports world and resulted in a last round draft selection by the St. Louis Rams. 


However, Sam emerged as a powerful and prominent icon for inclusion, a pioneer for the LGBTQ community, and an exemplar of the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit. He is current an NFL free agent, meaning he doesn’t currently have a signed contract with an NFL team.  During his playing career, Michael was awarded ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPYs, an annual sports awards show.


The event is free and open to the public.  Michael Sam will speak at 7 p.m., which will be followed by a question and answer session with those in the audience. 


For additional information, contact Mariza James, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center at (252) 328-6495 or Mark Rasdorf, LGBT Resource Office at (252) 737-4451.

BCSSE: Data to Support Student SuccessBCSSE
Submitted by SA Assessment

Each year, students enter campus with a variety of backgrounds and experiences that relate to their academic engagement and success. Every three years ECU administers the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) to provide campus administrators with valuable and timely information that allows us to positively impact the first-year experiences of our students.  Nearly 90% of our entering first-year students complete the BCSSE during summer orientation, and this exceptionally high response rate allows us to generalize the trends we identify to the entire undergraduate community with a high degree of confidence.


First Generation Students. Perhaps most informative, we have learned over the years that more than half of ECU undergraduates identify as first generation college students.  With data from 2014 and 2017, we can now state with confidence that approximately 55% of our undergraduate population arrive at ECU from households whose parent(s) or guardian(s) do not have a bachelor’s degree.  Furthermore, roughly 34% of our undergraduate students come from households whose parent(s) or guardian(s) have no education beyond high school.  These first generation college students are materially different from our continuing generation college students, and understanding these trends helps us to be better practitioners and more attuned to their individual needs.


Academic Preparation. In terms of academic preparation, we know that 25% of first-year students took no Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school, 52% took no college courses for credit, and 94% took no International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.  Among the students who did take AP courses in high school, approximately half (48%) took no more than two AP courses in their high school career.  We also know that our first-year students consistently arrive at ECU with little experience writing term papers.  More than one-third (35%) reported writing no medium-length papers (6-11 pages) in their senior year, and more than three-quarters (77%) reported writing no papers longer than 10 pages during their senior year.


Engagement and Employment. The majority of our students reported little academic engagement during high school, yet high levels of part-time employment.  On average, during their senior year, almost half of our first-year students spent five or less hours per week preparing for class (49%) and ten hours or less engaged in co-curricular activities (53%).  Although 27% of first-year students reported not working for pay during high school, one-half (50%) reported working a part-time job of 20 hours or less per week.  When looking ahead to their first year at ECU, almost half of our students expected significant difficulty managing their time and paying for college.


Learning More about Our Students. There is an abundance of useful information about first-year student experiences during their last year of high school and their expectations of what their first year of college will entail.  This information can be presented to you in departmental staff meetings, compiled for you for specific requests, included in COAD seminar courses, or other departmental programming efforts just to name a few. 


If you would like to learn more about our students, feel free to register for an OFE presentation titled “Using Student Characteristics Data to Support Student Success” via Cornerstone on October 24th, or contact your liaison with the Student Affairs Assessment, Research, and Retention office.

Club Sports hosts IGCC children for fun on the ice
Submitted by Jenny Gregory, CRW Coordinator for Promotions, Staff Development & Special Events

Skating Lesson

ECU’s Club Ice Hockey and Figure Skating Sports teams hosted 16 children from the Lucille Gorham Inter-Generational Community Center (IGCC) for an afternoon of ice skating and pizza, and then the kids got to watch the club ice hockey game play against Old Dominion University. The afternoon began at 3:00pm with both club teams interacting on the ice with the kids teaching basic skating skills.  For many of these children, this was their first experience being in an ice skating rink and around college students.


“Knowing the kids enjoyed themselves and seeing the smiles on their faces was a great feeling for the members of the ECU clubs,” said Sam Cucuel, VP of Club Figure Skating.

Stacy Massey, mother to one of the children in attendance, said that her son originally did not want to come because he didn’t know how to skate, however, now she can’t keep him off the ice.  When asked about his favorite part of the day, her son said he loved finally learning how to skate and that he would like to come back. “He’s enjoying a new experience,” Massey stated. “I love the IGCC because it helps keep the kids out of trouble and off the streets.”

Overall both club sports teams truly enjoyed their afternoon, and while ECU Club Ice Hockey dominated the ice with a 9-1 win over ODU, the real winners for the afternoon were the kids!

Student Affairs New Hires / DeparturesWelcome Aboard

Student Affairs New Hires Since September 15

  • Brandon Carta – Assistant Director – Greek Life – September 18
  • Alex Dennis – Assistant Director – Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement – September 18
  • Lauren Cummings – Case Manager – Dean of Students – October 1
  • Lacresia Jones – Student Services Specialist – Student Involvement and Leadership – October 2


Student Affairs Staff Departing Since September 15
  • Marsha Hall – Business Officer – Campus Recreation and Wellness – September 22