Extended Support Network
A Prevention and Wellness Program
Coordinated by the Andrews University Counseling & Testing Center
The Extended Support Network is a formal support system comprised of selected faculty and staff volunteers, serving as first responders, and committed to enhancing the caring, safe and supportive environment for Andrews University students where they can process their thoughts, explore, and share their concerns or challenges. This support network facilitates appropriate referrals as deemed necessary.
ESN volunteers are available to connect with all students facing challenges. Some of these students include:
First generation college students
Students experiencing transitional issues
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students
Students with addiction challenges
Students faced with domestic abuse/intimate partner violence
Students faced with unexpected pregnancy or abortion concerns
Students experiencing spiritual crisis
Students facing financial crisis
Criteria for Becoming an Extended Support Network (ESN) Volunteer
- Andrews University faculty or staff
- Comfortable relating with all students within the target groups
- Interested in volunteering time and energy in relating to students in need
- Familiar with general issues faced by students on college campuses and in target groups
- Willing to participate in yearly training and consultations
- Commitment is for a full academic year
Term of ESN Volunteer Services
An ESN volunteer’s term of service is one full academic year. All volunteers will participate in a general training at the beginning of their term of service early fall semester. They will also participate in two other follow up training opportunities in mid fall and spring semesters. In March the core organizing team will select ESN volunteers for the following academic year. ESN volunteers may serve for more than one term.
Role of Extended Support Network (ESN) Volunteer
- Provide a caring, safe, and confidential place to listen and allow students to share
- Refer students to appropriate resources ( ie. Counseling & Testing Center, Campus Ministry, Medical Center, etc)
- Advocate for persons or policies that will help foster a safe and caring environment
Limitations of Services
ESN volunteers function only as first responders, providing students with an opportunity to process their concerns in a safe and supportive environment. ESN volunteers do not function as professional counselors or medical providers. ESN volunteers make appropriate referrals to campus and community resources as deemed necessary.
Disclosure to Students
Faculty and staff who in their role as ESN volunteers are made aware of questionable or inappropriate student behaviors, will reassure students of the fact that their disclosures within the context of seeking support will not result in disciplinary actions. Only in cases of risk of harm to self or to others may information be shared with appropriate individuals for safety concerns. Consultations among Extended Support Network volunteers are solely to assist students in resolving concerns or in finding appropriate referral. Documents promoting this support system on campus will emphasize the non-disciplinary facet of the service.
Training for Extended Support Network (ESN) Volunteers
- Training is to focus on connecting, engaging, and active listening skills, and to provide volunteers with basic strategies to interface with students challenged with mental health, relational, stage of development, identity, and situational concerns
- Training format to combine didactic and experiential learning
- Training is to include familiarity with campus and community resources so that students may be referred appropriately
- General training is to take place at the beginning of fall term, with two other mini training sessions in November and March of each academic year
- ESN volunteers will be directed to the CTC’s Prevention and Wellness page for online resources
- Resources will be updated yearly through the CTC Prevention and Wellness web page, and through submissions to the CTC Prevention and Wellness Coordinator from various sources, including graduate faculty and students in counseling psychology and social work.
- Yearly training for ESN volunteers will be coordinated through the Prevention and Wellness component of the Counseling & Testing Center in collaboration with faculty from the Counseling Psychology and Social Work departments
How to become part of the Extended Support Network
If you are interested in learning more about the ESN, please contact Dr. Judith Fisher or Luis G. C. Ortega, LPC, LMHC, NCC at the Counseling and Testing Center (email: email@example.com; phone: 269-471-3470).
Visit Resources for Faculty & Staff for more information about signs of distress and at-risk behavior among college students and how to intertact and make effective referrals.