Resource Fair connects students and the community

An+independent+consultant+for+Arbonne+skin+care+products+gives+students+information+on+their+products+based+on+botanical+principles+at+the+first+Community+Resource+Fair+at+the+Downtown+Milwaukee+campus.

Photo by Jose Dehoyos

An independent consultant for Arbonne skin care products gives students information on their products based on botanical principles at the first Community Resource Fair at the Downtown Milwaukee campus.

MATC’s very first Community Resource Fair, held at the Downtown Milwaukee campus from Aug. 25 – 29 and Sept. 2 – 5, showcased a variety of services, organizations, and resources available to students. Among these were the PACE program, Bilingual Education department, Financial Aid, College Assistance Program, and Community Advocates.
Marvette Cox, vice chair of the President’s Diversity Council, believes that these services help to ease transition into student life.
“The Resource Fair is a variety of different organizations to help our students in being more informed about the different services available to them both internally and externally, so they can be successful throughout the semester,” Cox said.
The fair was conceptualized about a year ago during a conversation Cox had with Bob Hanson, long-time MATC instructor and faculty adviser to the MATC Times newpaper.
“I spoke to Bob Hanson a couple of semesters ago about how students are always waiting in very long lines,” Cox explained. “We thought it would be a great idea if we had something a little bit more exciting going on so that we can get students engaged in something other than the frustration of being in those lines.”
As a first-time event, the Community Resource Fair seems to have been a modest success.
“The different external organizations that have been joining us this past couple of weeks range from women’s groups, men’s groups, family organizations,” noted Cox. “The department of workforce development is here as well. They’re bringing information to students about health insurance, daycare, employment, career training.”
The availability of these services could prove especially beneficial to new students. As Cox has observed, as much as 70 percent of MATC’s student body is considered at-risk for financial and academic struggle. Among the growing list of support services offered to students are the Bilingual  Education department, Foundations Program and the College Assistance Program – all of which were represented at the fair.
“A lot of students are here two to three semesters before they’re aware of those opportunities and options,” Cox pointed out. “I’m glad the College Assistance Program is here. I think a lot of times around the middle of the semester, students start struggling and don’t really know where to turn.”
Engaging students and encouraging them to be more active participants in their experience at MATC is a major goal of the Community Resource Fair.
“Just making sure students are getting to the tables is going to be key,” Cox stated. “This way, students are moving around and becoming familiar with what the college has to offer.”
Cox also expressed hope that the Community Resource Fair will prove an even greater success in the future, enabling students to find ways to work together to strengthen the community.Jose_Resource Fair