The UMB Pulse Podcast

UMB Student Affairs AVP Patty Alvarez

September 09, 2021 Patty Alvarez, PhD Season 1 Episode 5
The UMB Pulse Podcast
UMB Student Affairs AVP Patty Alvarez
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Patty Alvarez, PhD, assistant vice president of student affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, helps students get ready for the fall semester as they return to campus discussing the renovated Student Affairs Suite (8:57), which includes the Student Counseling Center (10:29), and Intercultural Center (12:13). She'll also discuss the brand new UMBengaged platform for student organizations (23:11). Need your Pulse Check for campus updates? You'll want to hear this week's edition for guidance on events, eating, and drinking (5:12).

Jena Frick:

You're listening to the heartbeat of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the UMB Pulse

Charles Schelle:

Welcome to the newest episode of the UMB Pulse. I'm Charles Schelle.

Dana Rampolla:

I'm Dana Rampolla.

Jena Frick:

And I'm Jena Frick.

Charles Schelle:

And this episode is for the students. And while there's no homework, you may want to keep that pencil handy to take notes. Assistant Vice President of UMB Student Affairs, Patty Alvarez is our guest today with the fall semester preview of events, programs and services UMB students should know. You know, the average age of a UMB student is 27. And having the majority of programs that the professional graduate levels, the college experience is quite different than let's say when you're 18 or 21. A resident student Jena Frick, who will forever be 21 just like the store holds down a full time job doing Media Relations here at UMB in addition to studying at the Carey School of Law. So Jena, what's kind of like the coolest part about being a student? Like, is there something that was specifically student focus that you got to take advantage of?

Jena Frick:

Well, for those of you who don't know, I'm part of the MSL program with the School of Law. And that whole program is completely online. So it's not exactly the same as students who are necessarily on campus every day, who will get all of these different resources. But because I am still a student, I have access to all the different educational resources like Blackboard, the library, all of that stuff, which is great, because, man, I've used it a whole lot in the last like year and a half.

Charles Schelle:

Well, it probably works out too. Because even though you're an online student, you work on campus. So you have those tangible benefits.

Jena Frick:

Exactly. Yeah. So I'm very lucky in the fact that I can do this online program and I work here and I live around here. There's some people in my program who are actually from all over the place. There's someone from like North Carolina, and California and Texas, they're like all over the place. And that's one of the really great things that have come out of just being able to do Virtual Learning is being able to interact and learn and communicate with people from like all over the world.

Dana Rampolla:

Are there any people from out of the country that you know of?

Jena Frick:

Not in my specific program this year, but I'm sure that it happens. I know that the cannabis program that was launched with the School of Pharmacy, our colleague, Mary Phelan, who covers all things School of Pharmacy was saying that there are different students internationally who are participating in that program. So yeah, even if you're not here in the US, evey don't count out UMB because you can still get your education here even without being completely on campus.

Charles Schelle:

Dana, you are our resident teacher,

Dana Rampolla:

A former resident teacher another part of my lifetime ago.

Charles Schelle:

Once a teacher always a teacher. So do you ever get like the back to school itch or bug when when it's school time?

Dana Rampolla:

I do I do. I every fall or late summer I start to feel that way. I loved setting up my classroom and getting my bulletin boards ready and I like that organized freaky kinda person I love just getting everything lined up and ready to go. So yeah, I missed that. And and I often think about going back to teaching around this time of year because I miss it.

Charles Schelle:

What grades do you teach?

Dana Rampolla:

I primarily taught high school high school science, biology, anatomy, genetics.

Charles Schelle:

That's that's the tough stuff.

Dana Rampolla:

Or the fun stuff.

Charles Schelle:

I didn't do very well at dissecting a frog. I'll just tell you that.

Jena Frick:

I actually really loved all that stuff like the biology chemistry. I just wish that I was much better at it. Otherwise, maybe I wouldn't be sitting.

Charles Schelle:

Oh, well, I'm just here resident goofball and recovering journalist so the only thing I can contribute is that the best college experience you know, we're talking about student engagement a lot in this episode is just being part of that University Program Board at my alma mater where we had so many events that we would be booking people. I walked down campus sidewalk to promote Napoleon Dynamite showing at our campus so I'd like rented a llama

Jena Frick:

What?! You rented a dynamite?

Charles Schelle:

Yes, actually, I think it was an alpaca. But it was the cloest thing we could get. Again, we're promoting the showing and it was like the dead of winter too

Jena Frick:

Wait. So you had this alpaca in the dead of winter just hanging out on campus?

Charles Schelle:

Because you know, the scene Tina give me some ham. Yeah, the llama

Jena Frick:

Eat the food.

Charles Schelle:

Yeah, people love it and making the connection at work. I don't think a lot of people show up to the movie. But it got enough publicity. So it's just those weird moments that I think really make the college experience. I had more fun doing that than working at the student newspaper, and I probably should have went into a career of like booking rock bands and llamas.

Dana Rampolla:

There you go. Yeah, you missed your true calling.

Charles Schelle:

Exactly.

Jena Frick:

I mean, even though we probably don't have llamas and alpacas running around UMB's campus, we have plenty of other really cool and fun events. And resources that students can participate in and take advantage of here.

Charles Schelle:

Absolutely. And Patty Alvarez will get into that more later, but the UMB experience continues to evolve thanks to the Delta variant and is impacting how we all engage. So we'll explain how with a UMB pulse check.

Jena Frick:

Guidance is now in place for creating events offering food at events and meetings and what should happen when people are eating and drinking, both on campus and off campus events adhering to UMB health safety requirements can be executed without needing special approval. UMB student affairs in collaboration with the schools is requiring student organizations to register their events using UMBengage an online student engagement platform. The online event registration process will ask students to consider a variety of risks associated with holding events, including but not limited to COVID-19 health safety considerations

Dana Rampolla:

During the fall semester indoor gatherings and meetings up to 100 people and outdoor gatherings up to 250 people don't need special approval. Larger sizes require approvals from either a school student affairs dean, UMB Student Affairs or vice president depending upon the event. For events expecting more than 25 visitors or non UMB people event organizers should email COVID-recovery@umaryland.edu. Here are some highlights from the guidance for events and logistic: Assess how physical distancing can be practiced at your event's location, offer registration in advance and on site in case contact tracing is needed. Follow UMBs face covering policy by wearing a properly fitted mask and remember everyone regardless of vaccination status must wear a mask indoors both on campus or at an off campus location occupied by UMB community members.

Charles Schelle:

Food Service can no longer be offered at indoor events for the fall semester. This would involve table service or buffets in situations where people are seated together in groups. Grab and go food is allowed for indoor events. That includes pre packaged or box meals or having a caterer place food on individual plates for people to take with them. A grab and go option for indoor events is okay as long as people are not eating in groups and wear their masks while getting their food. The guidance includes much more including language about considerations for different scenarios. For complete details, visit the UMB recovery website at umaryland.edu/Coronavirus and search for the UMB COVID-19 guidance on events eating and drinking and that is your UMB pulse check. Our guest is the conduit of the UMB campus experience as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at UMB and serves on the Diversity Advisory Council. She may be a Hoosier but will forever have Maryland on her mind. Please welcome Patty Alvarez. Thanks for coming in. Patty!

Patty Alvarez:

Thanks for having me.

Charles Schelle:

Great.

Patty Alvarez:

Excited to be here.

Charles Schelle:

Let's get to know you a little bit more. I'm gonna put you on the spot. As a student what was your favorite student engagement experience?

Patty Alvarez:

I was pretty involved, I would have to say I was an RA. You know, we have housing on campus. We don't have RA's though. So it was a really valuable experience. And so encourage students who are looking for housing to check out either Fayette Square or Pascault Row. Those are our UMB housing options on campus.

Jena Frick:

Did you have fun bulletin boards with all the different stuff for your residents as an RA?

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely. The beginning of the year was a busy time for bulletin boards,

Jena Frick:

Right

Charles Schelle:

And what's maybe something that you wouldn't be in your position that you've been most proud of during your career?

Patty Alvarez:

I would actually say at my previous position at the University of Dayton is really helping to build this Multicultural Affairs Office. And so that's something that I'm particularly proud of

Charles Schelle:

What did that entail?

Patty Alvarez:

Really operationalizing this mission of what it means to be a Multicultural Affairs Office. And so it meant building that staff team and it really meant looking at our program of offerings and and how we would serve and support underrepresented students students of color, but also provide different sort of educational experiences for the campus.

Charles Schelle:

This is an exciting time with a lot to talk about. So when this episode publishes, on September 9, you'll be at a ribbon cutting for the renovated Student Affairs Suite. So let's dive into that immediately. What are some highlights of the renovation and what will students find inside?

Patty Alvarez:

Sure it's a long time coming, but we're finally ready to welcome students and others to the third floor of the Campus Center. And there we have a newly renovated UMB Student Affairs suite. I think even more importantly, a newly renovated Student Counseling Center. Very excited about that it will allow for more staff, trainees in particular, and students to go into the counseling center. And so a couple of other highlights that I want to mention are the new Intercultural Center. This was a center that was advocated for by students, and it started in June 2020. Last summer with the hiring of the executive director. We now have a space and a place for the Intercultural Center.

Charles Schelle:

Where's the Student Affairs suite located on the third floor of the Campus Center and how can someone take a tour if they're not able to stop by the ribbon cutting?

Patty Alvarez:

Just stop by. We welcome you at any time that you know normal business hours, just feel free to stop by.

Charles Schelle:

Great. And we'll get to the intercultural center in a second. Jena, I you think you had something about that?

Jena Frick:

Oh, yeah, just wanted to say quick shout out to Now Dr. Courtney Jones Carney and Rosemary Ferreira at the Intercultural Center, who also have a podcast called The Table, so be sure to check them out. And you can find a link on the intercultural center page.

Dana Rampolla:

Patty, you mentioned the Counseling Center, how do students take advantage of the center

Patty Alvarez:

In a variety of ways students can access the counseling center online to express interest in meeting with someone and discussing with someone the scheduling of an appointment or whatever may be happening in their life or calling and scheduling an appointment. They also have a lot of different resources online that students can access, including helpful apps and other information. And then the last thing I would mention is they have an after hours crisis line. So students will always be able to get assistance from the Student Counseling Center,

Jena Frick:

I have to say -- so I was actually just up in the Student Counseling Center because our office is putting together a video just kind of showing what the whole Center has to offer a shout out to Erik and Niko in our office who do an amazing job at our videos. And there's, it's so beautifully set up as soon as I walked in, it was just immediately very calming, just the color and the setup of the lobby, there's there's little fidget toys that you can kind of play with while you're waiting, and there's like a quiet area. So if you just want to kind of sit and wait alone, it's really, really wonderful. So really, even if you just are feeling stressed out about tests or classes or anything, it's a great spot to go and just kind of speak to someone about it.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely. Being in college, a graduate or professional program in particular can be very, very stressful on top of the everyday stressors that an individual might face. And so I want to encourage students to contact the Counseling Center, if that could be helpful for them.

Charles Schelle:

And do you know the after hours crisis hotline number by chance

Patty Alvarez:

Sure, students can call the main Student Counseling Center phone number, and that will automatically connect them to the after hours crisis line, which is 410-328-8404.

Jena Frick:

So I want to back up just a little bit you had mentioned the student Intercultural Center. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the center has to offer?

Patty Alvarez:

The intercultural Center provides a lot of different resources and opportunities for underrepresented students, as well as a variety of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti oppression training seminars, workshops and presentations for the campus.

Jena Frick:

Wow, that's fantastic. How can people get connected and find more information about that?

Unknown:

Online, that's the best way to go. But also we within Student Affairs and in the intercultural center, look forward to welcoming students, whether it's in person or online. And again, their offices on the third floor of the of the Campus Center.

Charles Schelle:

Do you know as far as the different trainings and services they offer, is there something that is more sought after that thee Intercultural Center provides?

Unknown:

One that they have offered in the past is the poverty simulation, and I believe that that's going to continue, a lot of the schools will ask that their students participate. And so again, that's that's an initiative that has been very well attended. I also want to mention The Table. You mentioned previously, the table podcast, but they also have a monthly table series where students can come together, faculty and staff are invited as well to talk about current events and different social justice issues.

Charles Schelle:

It's great, fantastic, now, something else that I know UMB has is a food pantry, right?

Patty Alvarez:

Yes.

Charles Schelle:

That's a real important issue impacting UMB students. A food insecurity survey of UMB students last fall showed that about 30% of students were worried about running out of food before they could buy more, and over 20% ran out of food before being able to afford more, where's the pantry located? And how can that food pantry help fill that gap?

Unknown:

Unfortunately, food insecurity is a phenomenon that's facing many students within higher education. And we found that to be the case here at UMB, as well. And so we have started a food pantry. We look forward to launching it this year, it's on the third floor of the Campus Center. And we want to be able to reach students where they're at. They can either stop by the food pantry, or we're in the process of purchasing some lockers so that students can grab their items, you know, place an order for those items, and then grab those items at their own convenience.

Charles Schelle:

Wow. It's like just like curbside grocery pickup. And I think that it really helps with, you know, there's no stigma attached to show up, right? No questions asked.

Unknown:

Absolutely. And we are partnering with the Maryland Food Bank. And so really, really appreciative of them, as well as other businesses and corporations who have donated items for our students use and those include Pompein olive oil. I don't know if you've tried them. But yeah, it's a very delicious

Charles Schelle:

Local company, right?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. And then McCormick, so both have donated items, and so we look forward to enhancing Those in many cases, some pre packaged items, all non perishable food items with products from McCormick and Pompein

Dana Rampolla:

Really nice to hear about local companies partnering with you.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely.

Dana Rampolla:

That's great

Unknown:

So we're excited that there were going to be some pop-up events happening. Pop-up food pantries in each of the schools,

Dana Rampolla:

And how will students find out about those?

Unknown:

Via email, I think the best place to find out information is to read Campus Life Weekly, which all students receive every Thursday evening.

Charles Schelle:

I've seen pictures of one of those pop up food pantries and the quality of the food is amazing that's including these boxes, I really feel like over the past probably 20 years that food pantries have improved amazingly, like I'm not ashamed to say when I was very young, and there's three siblings and we're all in school at the same time, we've had to use a food pantry from time to time and and get our supplies, get some butter or you know, soup or something. And it's just fantastic to have that resource.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely. Again, there's a lot of stressors that students face and we don't want food insecurity to be one of those stressors.

Dana Rampolla:

Well, let's shift gears a little bit Patty right after the ribbon cutting of the Student Affairs suite Fall Fest is on the September 10 horizon from 11 to two, is that right? And this year, it's going to be hybrid. Tell us a little bit about what that will look like. Will it still be on the nursing lawn as well as virtual?

Patty Alvarez:

Yep, absolutely. And so we look forward to welcoming a variety of student organizations and campus offices to the School of Nursing lawn where students can stop by and learn more about different student organizations as well as offices and resources on campus. If students aren't able to or would prefer to in participate online, they can do so again, it's going to be a hybrid event. Okay. And

Dana Rampolla:

will the online portion be simultaneous? Or will that be pre recorded? How will that work?

Unknown:

A lot of it -- I think, actually most of it is going to be pre recorded. So students could access access it at any time.

Dana Rampolla:

Oh, that's terrific. That's terrific. Where can students find more information about both events?

Patty Alvarez:

On the UMB Student Affairs website

Dana Rampolla:

Okeydoke. Well, we're headed to the website for lots of information.

Jena Frick:

So what other welcome events or things are happening for students as they come back to campu?

Patty Alvarez:

We have a variety of welcome events, but even more following welcome. And so just want to encourage students to check out the UMB Student Affairs events page. A couple of initiatives that I would like to highlight are the President's Student Leadership Institute. This is really an impressive and a great experience. These students are attending a variety of ongoing workshops and they can pick different tracks that they want to focus in on. And at the end of the semester, they receive a certificate signed by Dr. Jarrell. And so this is an initiative that is supported by Dr. Jarrell and we really do have high student participation in this series. The other experience I want to highlight is the President's White Paper and Symposium. And so these are the President's fellows these students are working on behalf of Dr. Jarrell, to explore an issue on top on campus of interest. And so the topic this year is really looking at Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Jena Frick:

Yeah, and we will talk a little bit more about initiatives. And how can what they gather over the span of a year can help our new VP and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer Dr. Diane Forbes Berthoud. Diane, a little later. I'm glad that you mentioned the white paper project because that's an event that our office covers every year. I covered the one last year and the students covered the topic of decolonizing health and it was really, really cool. The findings that they had, they was very detailed, and they came up with solutions to really help the decolonization process within UMB as well as the state of Maryland and the US in general. And you know, this is stuff that leadership really takes into consideration when moving forward and planning things for the university. So definitely students check it out if you're interested in trying to make a difference on campus and beyond.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely. There's an application process for both the President's Fellows as well as the PSLI, the President Student Leadership Institute. So again, encourage students to sign up for that.

Charles Schelle:

And that's just another example of the many ways students have a voice on campus and one of the more traditional ways as a student government association, I know that there's a university student government association and how does that organization interface with student affairs?

Patty Alvarez:

Sure, we work very, very closely closely together. Their advisor Miss Cindy Rice works within UMB Student Affairs, and I meet monthly with the President. Aishwarya is a phenomenal student as is all of the leaders. And so I have attended since the start of COVID. Each of their USGA meetings I would typically attend on occasion, but I wanted to make sure to attend more frequently to address any questions and to disseminate information. And so it's an amazing group. They meet once a month on Wednesdays, all of the senators so there's representation representation from each of the schools and programs, as well as the executive board.

Charles Schelle:

It's always refreshing to hear from students because you have to realize they're only here for a finite length of time. So it's all about the here and now. And so there's no institutional knowledge there. And then so there's advisors are key, and helping bridge that gap. So I'm sure they've came with some incredible ideas over the course of time.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely. And this year, they have created a new diversity position, and so excited about that, that's a part of their executive board, as well as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. And so there's new two new co chairs for that new committee. And so again, as you said, Charles, their voice really makes a huge difference on this campus, it's valued, it's heard, we want to be as proactive as possible as a campus in terms of just working with students in hearing from students so that we can proactively address any issues or concerns.

Dana Rampolla:

So Patty, what other types of opportunities are available to students through the Campus Center

Unknown:

Just want to encourage students to take advantage of this hub on campus, it's a place where students can come and study and a touchdown space in between classes. There's also a lot of key other other key departments and areas within the building, which includes the bookstore, food service, the one card office, URecFit and Wellness. And many of those other student affairs units that I mentioned previously, I want to highlight a couple, the Writing Center, if students are looking for writing support, writing assistance, and just feedback in general on any of their writing projects, they can contact the Writing Center where they can engage in an online format or in person,

Dana Rampolla:

Also in the lower level of the campus center near that One Card area is also the Parking and Transportation office, right. So if they have parking issues or need to update passes, they can do that there as well. Absolutely. Okay.

Charles Schelle:

And probably one of the most frequently asked questions, where can I find the Starbucks?

Patty Alvarez:

On the first floor of the Campus Center as soon as you walk in.

Jena Frick:

How can students be more engaged with their individual schools here on campus?

Patty Alvarez:

Well, I would just encourage students to reach out to their student affairs dean at a school level, again, I like to often tell students that they have the best of both worlds, they're going to get a lot of support resources and opportunities at a school level, as well as on a campus level. And so just want to encourage students to take advantage of all of those opportunities. One resource that students might want to take advantage of are out of our educational support and Disability Services Office. So if there's a student who has a disability, they can engage with that office initially online by submitting a form, and then they will then work, our team there will then work with the schools on reviewing those and helping to provide any accommodations as needed. One more thing about educational support and Disability Services is that it is an office that all students can benefit from, we offer academic coaching out of that office, and a variety of different workshops that all students can participate in.

Charles Schelle:

There are plenty of offices, like if you ever need any sort of assistance, or help there's people willing to help in every office at UMB. So if you're a student who just feel stuck in whatever aspect academically, in a professional sense, emotionally reach out to Student Affairs, because I'm sure there's something and someone that's willing to listen and to help you out.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely.

Charles Schelle:

Tell me about the UMB engage platform that's brand new, what can a student find there?

Patty Alvarez:

Great. I almost forgot about that myself. Thank you, Charles. So this is a really exciting new student and student organization engagement platform. And so students now can go into that platform and register their student organizations. We're also going to use this platform for students to register their events. And so you can then as students see all of the events that are being offered by different organizations, as well as offices on campus.

Charles Schelle:

So you're able to like add members and create your organization and run your bylaws through there and everything.

Patty Alvarez:

Absolutely, I think it's going to be great for student organizations in terms of your historical memory of your of your student organization and having it all in one place.

Charles Schelle:

Now, is there anything else that we need to promote?

Patty Alvarez:

Just want to encourage students to continue to read the emails that they're getting from the campus. The Elm, The COVID recap emails on Friday, as well as Campus Life Weekly, I think that's going to be the best way to stay informed about campus events, and information, as well as reading the communications from your schools.

Charles Schelle:

Well, be engaged, get involved, wherever you are in your academic and professional career, being a student at UMB can be a rewarding experience definitely. So thank you for Patty Alvarez for giving us insight into the UMB Student Affairs and we hope you have a great academic year!

Patty Alvarez:

Thank you very much.

Charles Schelle:

It is feeling a little bit like Back to the Future where updates to COVID-19 guidance is coming in faster than the DeLorean and we're not talking like 88.8 miles per hour. Alright?

Jena Frick:

I feel it's just 88 miles. Yeah,

Charles Schelle:

Okay. There were a lot of 8's involved.

Jena Frick:

Yeah, Michael J. Fox is okay, let's see if you guys can do 90. Vroom!

Charles Schelle:

Well, then in this situation, you're doc because you knew more.

Jena Frick:

Great Scott!

Charles Schelle:

As you can tell from this episode, and even in our prior episodes, we've had major updates to detail and on the off weeks more guidance is being updated. So to accommodate that, for the time being, we will do a partial episode on alternating weeks. So next week you will hear a short episode that will be a pulse check of guidance or a major event happening on campus or hybrid as it is, and then a segment featuring a new pulse PAL Etta Kit. Dana you've met Etta Kit right So tell me a little bit about her.

Dana Rampolla:

I have. Etta Kit will give you some tips on how to navigate uncomfortable scenarios when it comes to COVID-19 safety and re entry into the office and the classroom. You can submit questions to Etta Kit at umaryland.edu/ettakit. That's E-T-T-A K-I-T.

Jena Frick:

Etta Kit is probably good friends with our next guest for our September 23 episode, Diane Forbes Berthoud has joined UMB as its first chief equity diversity and inclusion officer and vice president. We will d scuss Diane's expertise and how you can help Diane make UMB a be ter place to learn work and serve the community

Charles Schelle:

Can't wait to meet Diane or is a Dr. Forbes Berthoud? In the meantime, with all the events going on and people seeing each other again, let's see all of your smiling faces even if they are masked on social media with hashtag UMBtogether and thanks for listening to the UMB pulse.

Jena Frick:

The USB pulse with Charles Schelle, Dana Rampolla and Jena Frick is a UMB Office of Communications and Public Affairs production. Edited by Charles Schelle sound engineering by Jena Frick marketing by Dana Rampolla. Music by No vibe. recorded in the University of Maryland Baltimore Community Engagement Center.

Intro
Back to School Feeling
Pulse Check
Patty Alvarez, PhD
Student Affairs Suite Renovation
Student Counseling Center
Intercultural Center
Food Pantry
Fall Fest
Additional Student Opportunities
University Student Government Association
SMC Campus Center
School Student Engagement
Educational Support & Disability Services
UMBengaged Platform
Ep 6 Teaser & An Announcement