Baruch One Stop Shop opens to students in person

Emanuela Gallo, Editor-in-Chief

The Baruch One Stop Shop now offers its services in room 1-116 of the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus, in addition to its online walk-ins. Also known as BOSS, it offers integrated and holistic support for students.

The BOSS advises students on topics such as academic advising, financial aid, required courses, TAP compliance, tuition, Degree Works and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The main mission of the BOSS is to help students in one place,” Vice President for Enrollment Management and Strategic Academic Initiatives Mary Gorman said. “So, they don’t need to figure out which individual office they need to go to or search around for an answer.”

It offers services from the offices of Bursar, Registrar, Undergraduate Advisement and Orientation, Financial Aid Services, Dean of Students, New Student and Family Programs and Enrollment Management and Strategic Academic Initiative. Most staff members operate on a rotating schedule.

“Everybody who works here is committed to the idea of helping find students a resolution,” Gorman said.

In February, members were cross-trained and equipped with essential information regarding subjects other than their division. Staff members also work together to help students.

“Part of this is to make student services more holistic and integrated,” Gorman said. “Often times students come with a problem that they’re not sure which office to go to, and sometimes it’s an issue that crosses different departments.”

Assistant Director of Success Amplified Rene Hernandez, who has worked in the BOSS virtually and in person, also spoke about the benefit of collaboration in the face of multifaceted issues.

“When they come in, they have a problem, but they don’t know that they have three other problems behind it,” Hernandez said. “We’re able to set them up with who they need to talk to right then and there.”

The BOSS staff gives referrals for students who need further assistance from specific offices.

“If we can’t do the resolution here, we make sure the students know exactly where they need to go and what they need to ask for,” Gorman said.

The BOSS is also a great resource for students who may be facing personal challenges. Gorman said these issues are often tied to financial and academic struggles. Students can be connected with offices and resources that deal with food and housing insecurity, counseling, tutoring or writing.

The BOSS began virtually at the end of the spring 2021 semester. It operated via Zoom two hours a day and four days a week. It eventually expanded to three hours a day due to “clear demand,” Gorman said.

It helps about 50-70 students per day virtually, and served over 6,000 students during its first eight months, according to Gorman.

When in-person classes began in the fall of 2021, the BOSS started planning the logistics of bringing its services onto the college campus.

“People want human connection,” Gorman said.

After quietly opening at the start of the spring 2022 semester, the BOSS closed temporarily in February for new carpeting and other improvements. Its opening was officially announced via email on March 14.

The BOSS is located where Continuing and Professional Studies, which was discontinued at the end of 2021, used to reside.

“Being able to sit down with a human being and look them in the eye and have them talk through, I think, is invaluable,” Gorman added. “Especially after a year and a half of being completely remote, that community connection is more important than ever.”

The BOSS also set up a pop-up tent on the first floor of NVC during the first week of classes, serving almost 900 students, according to Gorman.

“Especially for transfers and first-years, [the tent] was a safe place,” Student Success Coach Catherine White said.

Gorman said that it is crucial for students to know that there is a place where they can go to receive help from someone.

“It’s a big institution,” she said. “Things can feel bureaucratic sometimes. The aim here is to really make this service personalized and cut through all of that.”

The BOSS supports one out of the six “college-focused” goals outlined by President S. David Wu in September 2021. The goal is to “complete institutional structure and planning toward an integrated model for student success.”

“To truly meet our students where they are and tailor the way we serve them, we set out to build a fully integrated model for student success—manifested as a physical and digital one-stop shop,” Wu said in a blog on Feb. 24. “So, their distinctive needs and aspirations can be met.”

Wu pledged that the implementation of these goals would start during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“It is paramount for us to meet our students where they are,” a campus announcement email sent to Baruch faculty on March 23 read. “The BOSS is integral to that mission.”

Students can follow the Baruch One Instagram page for academic calendar reminders, administrative assistance, how-to’s and up-to-date information on the BOSS.

“Everybody brought into the BOSS as a representative is awesome,” White said, highlighting its warm and welcoming environment.