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BHSU sophomore Jake Worthington is one of the students served by the Student Support Services and Upward Bound programs, who are celebrating National TRIO Day with a food drive to benefit the on-campus food pantry.

In recognition of National TRIO Day, the Student Support Services and Upward Bound programs at Black Hills State University will be conducting a food drive to benefit the on-campus food pantry.

Food and donation boxes have been distributed around campus. The “Cans or Coins” will be collected on Feb. 28 and presented to United Ministries to replenish the food pantry that is available for the BHSU community.

During the last school year, 212 students at BHSU received supportive services through the TRIO Student Support Services program. At the same time, 70 students at target high schools were served through the TRIO Upward Bound program at BHSU.

In 1965, Congress began creating a series of programs to help Americans overcome class and social barriers to higher education. These services, geared toward low-income and first-generation students, were called Special Programs for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. Today they are known as the Federal TRIO Programs. The three original programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services) were authorized beginning in 1965. Four additional programs followed, including Upward Bound Math/Science, Veterans Upward Bound, Educational Opportunity Centers, and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program.

BHSU student Jake Worthington says Student Support Services was instrumental to his success at BHSU.

“When I first attended Black Hills State University, I didn’t have the commitment and dedication that I needed.  I dropped out of college after my first semester to enter the work force, thinking that a high school diploma was all the education that I needed.  I later became a father and now am a single parent.  As I labored in the methane fields of Gillette, Wyo., I knew I wanted to return to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree.  This time, however, would be different.  I was going to pursue a degree with a two-year-old son to care for at the same time.”

“I began the process to return to Black Hills State University.  As I was going through pre-registration, it became very apparent that attending college as a single parent was going to be an enormous challenge.  To be honest, I was intimidated as I sat in the seminars on Orientation Day.  Then I was introduced to the Director of Student Support Services, Susan Hupp.  She was very helpful and kind and right then, I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization.”

“I knew Student Support Services would help me achieve my goals at BHSU.  I entered my semester at BHSU as a non-traditional freshman on probation.  My biggest concern during this first semester was how I was going to make it through a college-level algebra class, since I hadn’t taken any math classes in five years.  Student Support Services assured me they could help me through that class.  I was directed to Cody McMichael, math specialist in Student Support Services, and he offered his positive guidance for making it through algebra.”

“Also, I was concerned about how I was going to write quality college papers.  I was introduced to Linda Wilson, the SSS English specialist.  She is an invaluable resource in SSS.  She helps you with those dreaded college papers and you come away able to write independently. Now, as I gear up to continue my success at BHSU, I have selected biology as my major, with a minor in earth science. Low and behold, SSS has a science specialist. Juli Larson is able to tutor students through the tough spots in biology and is another invaluable resource for me.”

“Not only does SSS offer tutoring assistance through their specialists, but they offer an even more important support and that is emotional support. The doors of SSS are always open to students who just need to talk about their challenges or even talk about what they had accomplished that semester.  Since I have been enrolled with SSS, my GPA has risen dramatically. I will obtain my degree for my family and for myself, and when that happens, I will give Student Support Services a big thank you!”

As mandated by Congress, two-thirds of the students served must come from low-income families where neither parent graduated from college. More than 2,600 TRIO programs at over 1,200 colleges, universities and agencies now offer TRIO programs in America. According to Carol Gritts, director of the Upward Bound program at BHSU, students in Upward Bound are four times more likely to earn an undergraduate degree than students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in TRIO. Students in the TRIO Student Support Services program are more than twice as likely to remain in college than those students from similar backgrounds who did not participate in the program.

For further information, please contact Susan Hupp at 642-6824 or Carol Gritts at 642-6293.