Central Oregon Community College has formed a partnership with Thrive. Thrive is a nonprofit organization that specializes in helping students who are experiencing housing or financial issues.
“We connect individuals to the resources and assistance that they are looking for or are struggling to navigate. By utilizing a holistic, individual-led approach to services, we help prevent housing and financial insecurity in a sustainable and trauma-informed way,” said Britta Schroeter-Phillips, who is a future onsite campus representative of Thrive.
Schroeter-Phillips has been working with the organization for the past three years in Bend, Prineville and La Pine. Schroeter-Phillips helps build community partnerships, participates in marketing projects and works on data analysis for the organization.
“This is an idea that we have had over the years. As Thrive Central Oregon grew, and COCC recognized the need on their campuses, we were able to come together and make a plan,” said Schroeter-Phillips.
Thrive will provide onsite services on COCC’s Bend campus. Scheduled appointments will be made available to the Redmond, Madras and Prineville COCC campuses in the near future.
“Faculty and staff often talk with students who are struggling with basic needs including food, housing, utility assistance, medical care, mental health care and more. This position acts as referral service to the multitude of community organizations who can provide support in this regard,” said Alicia Moore, the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Moore believes the partnership will help students connect with community resources. Students connected to these resources are more successful personally and academically. However, this partnership did not happen overnight.
“The timing was fortuitous, as the trustees who oversee a trust given to the college—the Keyes Trust—had interest in supporting students in this regard. When the Keyes trustees met this year, they agreed to fund a half-time position for a one-year pilot,” Moore said.
According to Moore, COCC has been looking for opportunities to provide support like this to students. However, due to budget limitations the plan could not be enacted until recently. The college is implementing a set of guidelines for the partnership.
“We are currently working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between COCC and Thrive in order to outline the details of the partnership that will begin in the fall of 2020,” said Andrew Davis, Student Campus Life Director of COCC.
In a press release by COCC, the service will be re-evaluated in the spring of 2021 for potential continuation by the college.
“We are very excited for this new partnership and believe it will be a great benefit to our students,” said Davis.
(Luke Reynolds/The Broadside)