A St. Cloud State University program recently received regional recognition by earning a 2023 NODA Region V Innovation in Retention Award due to its unique approach to a challenging situation or a specific campus need.
SCSU’s Husky Stories program was one of two Region V Innovation Award winners awarded by NODA, which enhances and elevates orientation, transition and retention practices in higher education that cultivate the professional development and education of student leaders, graduate students, practitioners and scholars.
“Husky Stories is a great example of working together cross-divisionally to elevate current student voices, create a sense of belonging, and expand the notion of the possibility in experiences at St. Cloud State University,” said Katie Jackson, Associate Director of Orientation. “Multicultural Student Services and the LGBT Resource Center have been essential in planning and leading this event during Huskies 1st 4. I am eager to grow and develop this program with more campus partnerships and support to continue to elevate our student voices and experiences.
“Special shout out to our previous Orientation Coordinator, Tristan Richards, for her impact, contribution and creation of Husky Stories. Along with all the students who have shown bravery to share their story.”
The Innovation Program Award recognizes innovative and effective approaches in three categories with awards for Innovation in Orientation, Innovation in Transition and Innovation in Retention. It is the opportunity to highlight good administrative practices that meet the changing needs of an institution and its students. These innovative programs help generate new knowledge and best practices within the field of orientation, transition and retention.
Husky Stories, developed by SCSU’s Advising and Student Transitions, is one way in which SCSU’s New Student Orientation programming helps the community grow while also creating a sense of belonging for underrepresented students. In partnership with the LGBT Resource Center and Multicultural Student Services, SCSU works to identify student speakers who are comfortable and willing to share their individual story with new incoming students.
In addition to sharing their story, students receive coaching to support them through their story development. During SCSU’s new student orientation programming, Husky Stories is provided as a required orientation session. In this setting, new students are able to listen to how other students have connected and found their home at SCSU.
Evaluation of Husky Stories programming includes both qualitative and quantitative feedback from participants. For local students and Minnesota residents, the program expands their sense of how each student experiences SCSU. For student leaders who shared their stories, they found it empowering to share their experiences with new students.
NODA’s Region V is one of nine regions throughout the country, comprised of institutions in Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin as well as the province of Manitoba. The region winners automatically advance for consideration in NODA’s Conference in Minneapolis on Oct. 15-18.