Student Involvement changes name to SEAL, new emphasis on engagement


Courtesy of Gabriel Fonseca

The new logo for Student Engagement, Advocacy and Leadership, previously known as Student Involvement.

Student Involvement is now Student Engagement, Advocacy and Leadership, or SEAL.  Along with the name change, the activity programming portion of the office will be transferred to campus recreation, allowing SEAL to put more emphasis on signature engagement experiences.

“In September, the former director of student involvement announced that she was leaving, and it really gave us an opportunity to think about the purpose and the vision of the office we were trying to create,” Gabriel Fonseca, director of SEAL, said.  “The name Student Involvement really wasn’t encompassing the entire services that the department did and provided.”

Fonseca said that students should know that SEAL is a “one stop shop” for students to figure out what they want their collegiate experience to look like, and what involvement and engagement experiences they want to have.

“SEAL provides the opportunities from freshman year all the way to graduate student experiences and there’s an opportunity for you to be involved and engaged with our office and the things that we provide for the campus,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca said that SEAL gives students the chance to take what they are learning in the classroom and bring it to the opportunities in the department.  Students can also bring their experiences from the department, such as being a leader in a student organization, to the classroom.

“We’re really trying to tie that branch between social student experiences and the academic experiences,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca said that the department is divided into five or six overarching areas.  The civic engagement area consists of their community service board and alternative breaks program, which has been halted during COVID.  The office still has fraternity/sorority life experiences, which includes all 25 greek organizations.

The office also supports and advises all 215 student organizations.  The leadership development program focuses on creating a leadership experience from day one on campus.  They also work with the national student exchange program, which allows students to enroll and pay for Wichita State courses while being at another institution in the country.  SEAL also provides administrative support to the Student Government Association, while also still helping plan events such as family weekend and homecoming.

“We really want to think about how we are creating real world experiences and world ready leaders and experiences, and how we are connecting what you are doing in a classroom and connecting it to these experiences,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca said that SEAL’s values of intentional growth, belonging, connectedness, and civic mindedness all connect back to the university’s values in more ways than one.   

“We are constantly looking at how else we can elevate and grow the experiences that we are trying to provide to students, and so I think for me it’s always important to know that we are trying to create these experiences for our students because these are the things that they have asked for, these are the things that they want to see, and we are open to all of the feedback in the world,” Fonseca said.