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Just ‘ASK’

Student liaisons answer students’ questions at new ASK desk

special feature: Back to school

Part of a special feature coinciding with the beginning of a new academic year at Memorial University.


By Laura Barron

If you’re a student with a question, and you’re not really sure where to go, your first point of contact should be ASK.

Located in the Student Experience Office in the University Centre in UC-3005, the ASK desk is a central point of contact for all students, as well as staff, faculty and visitors to Memorial, who have questions about the programs and resources available to help students succeed.

Ready to assist

Becky Gardner, a student liaison who works at the desk, says anyone who visits ASK can expect a diverse team eager to help.

“We are all about the student experience,” Ms. Gardner said. “Whether it will be dishing about all of our fabulous leadership programs, being able to find the resources students are looking for and sending them in the right direction, or just general enquiries about the campus, students can expect a well-versed team who will find out what the student needs to know to make a better post-secondary experience.”

Becky Gardner, student liaison at ASK, helps students in person, via email and over the phone.
Student liaison Becky Gardner assists students in person, via email and over the phone.
Photo: Chris Hammond

‘Friendly service’

Student liaison Joan Conway agrees that ASK is an accessible, welcoming atmosphere for any student who needs assistance or direction.

“Students can expect friendly service from knowledgeable staff who strive to answer enquiries to the best of their abilities,” said Ms. Conway. “I like getting to meet people from all over the university, and I love how welcoming everyone is, it’s really a great atmosphere.”

Ms. Gardner’s favourite aspects of working at ASK are the people she is able to meet and work with. Whether they are the staff in the Student Experience Office, Leadership Programs, Student Support, Crisis Management or any other of the units in Student Life, she says they are “phenomenal” to work with.

“I get to meet so many diverse students, and having to discover the answers to their questions also gives me a more in-depth knowledge of our campus.” –Becky Gardner

“I truly could not ask for a more knowledgeable, passionate team to work with,” Ms. Gardner said. “I also enjoy interacting with the student population. I get to meet so many diverse students, and having to discover the answers to their questions also gives me a more in-depth knowledge of our campus. It makes for an enjoyable experience when you get to help out others and feel more at home on campus.”

Information hub

Dr. Jennifer Massey, director, Student Life, sees ASK as an integral connecting point for students.

“The ASK liaisons are ‘connecters’ to the rest of the university, so a student doesn’t have to wander from office to office trying to figure out where they should go,” said Dr. Massey. “In many cases, students will be able to have their questions resolved at ASK, and if they’re not able to resolve them on site, students will be directly connected to a staff member or faculty member who can help them.”

The student liaisons are cross-trained in a number of areas across the university — everything from “How do I set up my Wi-Fi” to “How do I get an academic advising appointment?” to “How do I get career counselling?” and more.

“Instead of being sent away, and told what they need to provide, we will have cut out that step and helped students get what they need sooner.” –Dr. Jennifer Massey

“ASK has a mandate and an eagerness to grow the information offered, and act as a conduit for information for students,” said Dr. Massey. “In a previous example, a student may come to the former Answers office and ask “How do I change my name on my student registration?’ and Answers would have directed the student to the Office of the Registrar, provided directions and contact information.

“At ASK, in the new liaison model, we want the liaisons to let students know that, yes, they need to go to the Office of the Registrar, but provide the added information about the forms needed and the backup documentation required. So, when the student arrives at the Office of the Registrar, they are prepared and have everything they need to proceed with their request. Instead of being sent away, and told what they need to provide, we will have cut out that step and helped students get what they need sooner.”

If you have questions, please visit ASK in UC-3005, email ask@mun.ca or call 709-864-7461.


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