College serving small community of students sheltering on campus

Students with lunch provisions

While most Ripon College students are now safely sheltering off campus, 15 students remain on campus because of an inability to travel home. These include international students and others who have extenuating circumstances.

Maria Mendoza-Bautista, director of multicultural affairs at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and others still on campus have rallied to support this small, on-campus community.

“Our goal is to assess student needs, ensure measures that promote safety, health and wellness, and deliver factual information about the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mendoza-Bautista says.

These students are receiving assistance from various sources on campus and from the greater Ripon community. A food/hygiene pantry, stocked with donations from the College and the community, provides canned and dry food items and personal hygiene products. Donations are coming from faculty, staff, the president’s office, the Ripon College Emergency Assistance Fund, members of the community, alumni, local churches and friends who hear about this concerted effort to help.

Also, Amy Pollesch, organizer of the city’s Ripon Community Food Pantry, is helping ensure that resources in the community are being utilized and is regularly checking in to see how students are doing through their donations.

During spring break, grab-and-go warm meals were offered along with other supplies.

Residence Life now has moved all remaining on-campus students into the Campus Apartments where they have all-day access to the food/hygiene pantry on the first floor. The pantry is being replenished daily and as donations are received.

As of April 10, the campus food/hygiene pantry had had 148 student visits.

The Office of Student Activities and Orientation is providing a safely coordinated shuttle for weekly trips to a grocery store should students need them.

Mendoza-Bautista spends time with these students when she can — while practicing social distancing and safety — and she says, “My observation is that some of the international students will continue to monitor travel bans from their respective countries because they also want to go home, inform their families abroad of their well-being and home status in campus housing, ensure safety by working with our offices to acquire resources and factual information, and find support in an area like the Center for Diversity and Inclusion — especially for resource sharing and communication access to campus updates.”

The College continues to monitor student needs and to let them to know that Ripon College is here to support them. By providing support for basic needs and remote access to academics, the goal is that “students progress in their scholarly goals and finish strong this semester,” Mendoza-Bautista says.

Those interested in donating supplies or monetary support can send an email to [email protected]ipon.edu.