By Robert C. Jones
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 29, 2014) – Hayley McPhedran showed up at the University of Miami’s Whitten University Center in search of career information. She quickly found what she was looking for at a table staffed by student ambassadors from UM’s Toppel Career Center, learning about an employment expo that will be held on campus later this semester.
“I’m planning to become a physician assistant, a field where there’s not a lot of shadowing opportunities,” said McPhedran, who graduates from UM in May with a psychology degree. “Perhaps there’ll be an opportunity I’ll learn about at the expo.’’
McPhedran was one of hundreds of students who participated in UM’s ’Canes Care for ’Canes Resource Fair on Wednesday, an event where some 14 organizations distributed pamphlets, brochures, and advice on the many services available to the student community. The Pier 21 Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, UM Police Department, the Counseling Center, the Office of Financial Assistance Services, the Herbert Wellness Center, and Multicultural Student Affairs were among the organizations whose representatives passed out information and answered students’ questions.
“We wanted to target students we might not have reached during Orientation,” said Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs. “We’d like them to know that the University is aware of their needs.”
The fair was a first for ’Canes Care for ’Canes, a Division of Student Affairs initiative that encourages the UM community to be proactive in helping students in need. UM created the campus-wide program in 2010 shortly after University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.
“We want our students to know that we have the resources here to help them when in a crisis and that our institution is attentive and always ready to respond,” said Gail Cole-Avent, UM assistant to the vice president for student affairs.
Finance major Kierin Mukerjee found the January 29 resource fair “extremely helpful.” Looking for information on volunteer opportunities, he visited the table staffed by representatives from the Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development and learned about many service projects in which UM students can participate.
Plans call for the resource fair to be offered next year, according to Cole-Avent.