Three BYU services students don’t fully take advantage of

The BYUSA office is where plans to serve students are made and carried out. (Marinda Risk)

BYU offers a wide variety of services for its students, ranging from post-mission adjustment workshops to hands-on help with writing. But many students remain unaware of these free resources. Three of these organizations are BYUSA, Women’s Services and Resources, and Writing Fellows.


BYUSA’s executive director of involvement, Dillon Ostlund, said the organization is designed to help students find meaningful opportunities to serve other students.

“When Elder Holland was president here at BYU, he wanted to form a student service organization. The idea of BYUSA is for students to serve in a variety of capacities to make BYU a better, more enjoyable environment for everyone, and give them an opportunity to give back, serve, and be involved,” Ostlund said.

BYUSA puts on many activities throughout the year including Patriot Week, parties, dances, Honor Week and many other events throughout the year. BYUSA is a volunteer organization where students serve other students in meaningful ways.

Ostlund began volunteering initially for three hours a week. He began making friends there and eventually started staying for 10 hours a week. He said he has had a positive experience in the organization and would encourage anyone interested in serving other students to consider volunteering.

“Our services and activities gives students break and relief from being stuck in the accounting lab until 10 o’clock at night,” Ostlund said.

Women’s Services and Resources

Around the corner from the BYUSA office in the Wilkinson Center is the Women’s Services and Resources office. Tiffany Turley, manager of the organization, said she feels that students have much to gain from participating in Women’s Services events, activities and programs.

“Our mission is two fold,” Turley said. “We connect women to services, and we connect them to on campus and community resources. We have great connections in the campus and community.”

She said the other half of the organization’s mission is putting on events, mini workshops and classes designed to educate the campus community on what’s important to women.

Turley said Women’s Services has seen success in their recent campaigns, such as the “Be You” campaign which aimed to raise awareness about self confidence and building positive self image. They plan to sponsor multiple campaigns this semester like Voices of Courage to promote awareness of violence against women, an eating disorders awareness campaign and post-mission workshops to help returned missionaries transition from mission life to being students again.

The post-mission transition workshops for women originated from a survey of over 5,000 students at several universities, according to Turley. The results showed that it was difficult for sister missionaries to return home and finish school. Women’s Services realized it’s a difficult transition and began hosting a post-mission transition workshop every month. Social and academic transitions are addressed in the workshop. Returned missionary men also go to these workshops to get advice and guidance, according to Turley.

Nutritional services are a highlight of the organization’s services because they provide answers to questions like how to eat healthier on a budget or how to get enough sleep. Turley said the nutritional counselor can help with these questions. Support groups are also available for women with eating disorders, where they will be connected with a mentor who has overcome an eating disorder in the past.

“We can help with so many things, and people don’t always know that because they don’t know who we are,” Turley said.


Writing Fellows 

Academic services are also offered on campus. Teagan Nakamoto has worked for several semesters as a writing fellow as part of an organization designed to help students improve their writing for classes. Nakamoto said he believes that students should take advantage of all the writing services, including Writing Fellows, available at BYU.

“As Writing Fellows, we read through the paper, look for development of a thesis, good writing practices, summarize each paragraph in one sentence to see its organization,” Nakamoto said.

Nakamoto said the process is designed to help students improve and expand their writing skills.

“We then send them an annotated copy of the paper, and the student writes one page of feedback with specific areas they could improve. The next week the student and mentor go over the feedback and information, answer questions, teach concepts, and try to help with grammar,” Nakamoto said.

Nakamoto also said the Writing Resource Center located in the library is a great option for students to get hands-on help conducting research and learning to improve their writing.

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