Taking advantage of Iona’s online resources

Julia Fabrizio, Features Editor

As colleges move to online learning to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, students are losing a lot of the resources they had access to on campus. In an attempt to make this transition easier for everyone, Iona is offering many resources online. Students will still have access to many virtual services during this time, including tutoring, counseling, career development and many other student engagement opportunities.

As the semester nears its end, many may be concerned about tutoring options and preparing for their final exams. The Samuel Rudin Academic Resource Center plans to remain open for students by offering virtual tutoring via Zoom sessions. If you are interested in scheduling a tutoring appointment, send an email to Dana McLachlin at [email protected] indicating what course you need assistance with and what your availability is.

A major concern for many students during this time is their access to counseling resources, as this change in all our lives is very stressful. The Counseling Center is making themselves available to students by updating their website to include virtual walk-in appointments, as well as useful tools for meditation and stress reduction. They also created an Instagram account, @IonaCollegeCounselingCenter, that provides helpful tips and resources for coping.

Another major resource being offered remotely for students is career services. The Gerri Ripp Career Center is still available for assistance with resume, cover letter, interview and job hunt advice, and they are hosting career workshops via Zoom. Students can sign up for these workshops on Handshake.
Many other organizations are attempting to connect with students virtually, too.

Residence Hall Director Marco Oros Castillo explains how the residential life staff is making themselves available to students.

“Residence Life has started offering virtual programming via online platforms such as Zoom,” Oros Castillo said. “The residence hall directors have also began hosting virtual office hours every week as a way to remain available to students who may be seeking any type of support. Instructions are sent via email to each building from their home RHD, and their hours are also listed on ResLife’s social media page on Instagram @IonaResLife.”

Faith Krefft, Assistant Director of Service and Immersion for the Office of Mission and Ministry, explains how OMM is reaching out to students during this time.

“We wanted students to know that we are here for them, even if it’s in a different way than they’re used to,” Krefft said. “The resources we are offering in our weekly newsletter include prayers, reflections, livestreamed Holy Week events, virtual hospitality and a way to stay engaged with action and advocacy opportunities. We hope that this newsletter will bring a little sense of comfort to the Iona College community.”

Many clubs and organizations are continuing to host meetings with their members via Zoom, so they can continue to collaborate and stay connected during this time.

“I feel that it’s a great idea for the club[s] to continue to keep it alive,” sophomore Anthony Tirelli said. “The online services that are offered are okay. It feels weird to video chat classes at home. But it’s good that there’s a way to continue our education. Especially with some of the Iona clubs, like ICTV, AIL or the Ionian going virtual now. It’s a good way to keep us occupied.”

Many students have mixed feelings about this shift to online services.

“Honestly I am not getting what I should be out of this in terms of tuition,” senior Allison Parrett said. “However, I think everyone is trying hard to help us the best they can.”
Senior Ravyne Slaughter looks forward to taking advantage of these online resources.

“I think it’s great that Iona moved a lot of their services online,” Slaughter said. “You can still get help from the career development center, which is really helpful for me being a graduating senior.”

While this transition is difficult for everyone, the access to virtual Iona services can at least bring some sense of normalcy back into our lives. Iona organizations and faculty are making themselves available, so don’t let social distancing keep you from connecting and getting involved.