Universities are often charged with developing students’ professional skills to allow them to prosper in the future. However, many of these institutions fall short when it comes to supporting the current health needs of their specific student population. The physical, mental, and social health of students must be prioritized, with particular emphasis on challenges like housing, food, and financial insecurity that inhibit student success.
In this feature, Christie Poteet, director of the Office for Community and Civic Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Deb Gunsallus, AmeriCorps VISTA for Hunger with the Office for Community and Civic Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, describe how the CARE Resource Center operates on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s (UNCP) campus and serves the surrounding community. The center helps ensure students’ health and wellbeing beyond typical university standards by coordinating supportive housing, running a food pantry, and assisting with professional dress to allow students to land jobs. While the CARE Resource Center is working to serve and retain students from local counties such as Scotland and Robeson, it also stands as an example of how universities can begin going beyond the classroom to help their students succeed.—Morgan Augillard and Joey Swerdlin, Along the Lumbee River report editors