Student Engagement and Community Support

In December, President Chodosh announced a new initiative and fund to support our CMC community this semester. With the goal of facilitating student engagement and relationships across the virtual campus, we hope to enhance existing programming and offer new programming based on the needs of different communities at CMC.

As we move through the semester, you will see that our events and offerings fall into three broad themes:

Community: Bringing a bit of Claremont to wherever you are this spring.

Programming includes Authors of the Athenaeum: Featuring books of Ath speakers, launching this week with Peniel E. Joseph’s The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. — register for his Athenaeum talk and request a free copy of his book. We will also help you learn more about your morning cup of coffee through a Columbian Coffee Tasting with third-generation coffee grower Leandro Galindo Giraldo, complete with tips on brewing a better cup and supplies to make your own coffee!

Purpose: Making space for continued academic, personal and professional pursuits.

Join our new Slack Community and receive an annual subscription to MasterClass! As we spend more time at home this semester, we want to support students in pursuing their passions and deepening their knowledge across a variety of subjects.

Play: Because even the hardest workers need to stop and smell the roses.

We’re excited to announce an amplified Mystery Box Program launching this week. Watch your email for updates and sign up soon!

We want to hear your ideas and feedback. These are just the first in a busy spring of community programming — please watch for more information.

For more information and registration deadlines visit the Spring Virtual Engagement page.

In addition to the new offerings, the following programming remains in place for all students:

  • Off-campus room and board support for students on financial aid, including necessary technology and books.
  • Peer success consultants with a focus on virtual learning skills.
  • Free 24/7 mental and physical health resources for all students.
  • One-on-one dedicated career coaching through the Soll Center for Student Opportunity.
  • Engaging virtual Athenaeum program with world-class faculty, speakers, and moderated discussions.
  • Full engagement of the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America and the Open Academy.
  • Health and fitness programming through our great coaches and experts in CMS Recreation.
Student Engagement

CMC students have been working with the Dean of Students Office and other departments across the campus to offer a broad array of student engagement opportunities. We learned many lessons in the fall, and have found new ways of experiencing clubs and organizations, competitive events, service experiences, creative ventures, and more. Students from the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) and the College Programming Board (CPB) will collaborate to create a vibrant schedule of spring programs.

Leadership development opportunities remain available, including those through CMC’s many research institutes, faculty research program, and employment.

Your RAs are still here for you, reaching out individually, creating group touch points, and working with students to bring their creative community-building ideas to fruition.

Not all programming requires a computer or Zoom account. Together, we’ve thought outside the box (or sometimes inside the box!) for some different kinds of fun such as gardening kits, fantasy leagues, cooking nights and mystery box exchanges. We will hold another virtual Club Fair after classes begin to help all students learn about student organizations and opportunities at CMC.

This spring, we will also be accepting students’ proposals for funding and organizational support for other activities that students are excited about. Details and an online proposal link will be available when the semester starts.

As conditions improve in areas across the country, the College will assess opportunities for safe, in-person interactions such as dinner clubs, movie nights, and coffee chats with other students and alumni. Parents from across the world are eager to help facilitate these opportunities as they become available.

Soll Center for Student Opportunity

The Soll Center for Student Opportunity has reimagined all of its programming and services by proactively working with employers, alumni, and parents to create more virtual internship, micro-internship, and full-time opportunities for students, including:

  • New coaching program designed to fit the needs of specific class years, with a dedicated career coach who individually connects with every student
  • Emphasis on first-year career exploration through focused interest clusters, workshops on crafting one’s story, and individualized meetings about CMC resources
  • New series that connects students and alumni to paid part-time project work through the Parker Dewey micro-internship platform. This allows students to complete remote skills-based projects for 10-40 hours across various industries and departments
  • Individual placement services and targeted workshops for graduating seniors
  • Virtualized networking trips, job shadowing, Peers + Careers series, industry meet-ups, and coffee chats free of geographic and travel constraints. Events are customized and targeted to specific areas of career exploration.
Mental Health Support/Case Management

While it is always normal and okay to have some challenges with your mental health, you may find yourself having an even more difficult time in this current landscape. The uncertainty of what comes next can bring about feelings of anxiety, isolation, lack of motivation, hopelessness, and more. We are committed to supporting you and your friends as we navigate this time together, regardless of where you might be located, through Case Management. This spring resource list will help you become familiar with the many available mental health resources. Also, stay tuned for ongoing social media tips and resource updates. 

One of the best ways to support your mental health is to make use of upstream resources available to you to support your success and overall well-being, for example, working with the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Lab, and the Academic Success Team in the Dean of Students Office. We urge you to use these resources proactively.

Some ways we have virtualized our support include:

  • Expanded mental health training in the QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) method to recognize, intervene, and appropriately refer people who are struggling
  • Creating local resource lists for different areas around the world
  • Providing drop-in and group therapy options with our locally contracted therapists
  • New and creative mental health programming and support through the use of videos, social media, podcasts, apps, and more
  • 24/7 on-demand free teletherapy available to all students through Timely.MD continues
  • Assistant Dean for Mental Health and Case Management Jess Neilson is available for individual meetings with students, and her open-door policy remains intact through Zoom drop-in office hours
Support for Student-Led Healthy Culture Initiatives

Consistent with our well-being framework, the Dean of Students Office has partnered with students, and campus and consortium resources, to develop and implement upstream well-being initiatives that can impact students regardless of where they are living.

  • The WHOOP Pilot: For students interested in improving sleep and exercise habits, avoiding burnout, reducing alcohol and caffeine use, and developing healthier nutrition and hydration habits, the Success Consultants are starting a pilot using WHOOP straps. Students can join one of the two pilots for the spring term. Right now, we have 30 straps, so we anticipate running two pilots of 30 students each for 8 weeks. Check your email regularly for important application information from the Success Consultants account and follow @cmcdos for updates.
  • CMS Athletics: CMS Athletics Student-Athlete Mental Health Committee has launched a resource page and engaged coaches on well-being practices to maximize health and performance.
  • Success Consultants: The peer assistants help students develop well-being, academic, and life skills and strategies to achieve their goals at CMC. Students can schedule regular meetings with them to talk through time management and organization, overcoming procrastination and test anxiety, efficient reading and note-taking, and exam prep. The peer assistants can also help with goal-setting and habit-building, streamlining workflow, sleep management, stress-tolerance and coping skills, and healthy living. During the last 6 weeks of the fall term, success consultants were booked solid.
  • Best Life and Chill Workshop Series: These are discussion series designed and facilitated by Jordan Hamilton, a PhD student in positive psychology at CGU and a former professional athlete. His mission is to empower individuals to improve their well-being and performance in life through evidence-based skills. These weekly, themed workshops are well-attended and terrific opportunities to build important life and well-being skills. As a bonus, it is another opportunity to forge connections with other CMC students.
CARE Center

The CARE Center remains a space for expression, study, dialogue, and exploration of our intersecting social identities and how they inform the ways in which we live within, learn from, and engage with the world. CARE Center programs have helped students identify structural forces that have separated, fragmented, and polarized our society. During an election year, a nationwide rise in Black Lives Matter protests, and increased attention on social equity issues, the CARE Center has helped students explore and practice the many strategies and skills through which we can overcome divisive challenges to build stronger, flourishing communities.

Holistic Student & Academic Success

The Student Success team in the Dean of Students Office continues open-door practices through virtual meetings to help each student meet their well-being and academic and personal success goals. Shayla Chalker (schalker@cmc.edu), Susan Layden (slayden@cmc.edu), Malcolm Oliver (moliver@cmc.edu), Sean Rollolazo (srollolazo@cmc.edu), and Kari Rood (krood@cmc.edu) are all available for one-on-one coaching. In addition, our Success Consultants (https://www.cmc.edu/dean-of-students/asc) have developed robust programming and support across global time zones. These peer mentors help students meet coursework, sleep management, stress tolerance, nutrition, and other essential success and well-being goals. The Success Consultants send important emails highlighting resources, opportunities, and tips throughout the semester.

The Academic Success website offers many resources to download (including the ever-popular Semester-At-A-Glance calendar!). We are student-centered and would be glad to hear from students with any requests or ideas related to student success.

We know that students with accommodations may find the need to adjust some aspects of their support for this virtual setting, and Accessibility Services is available for consultation and adjustments. Please reach out to Kari Rood at accessibilityservices@cmc.edu.

“I believe an enduring success in these unprecedented times will be the powerful memories students create by connecting creatively and deeply with one another despite their distance apart.”

DT Graves ’98
AVP and Dean of Students

Coronavirus Relief Funding to Students

Athenaeum Programming