The Vermont Connection


Although student affairs professionals in this field strive towards serving students, it is common for them to fix or help students by default. In this commentary, I examine how disconnection with students can manifest in fixing and helping, while serving can embrace students’ wholeness and strengthen interconnectedness. Additionally, I explore the difference between fixing, helping, and serving in higher education and student affairs through the critical lens of Rachel Naomi Remen (1999) and my lived experiences as an emerging student affairs professional. Student affairs professionals must understand the difference between fixing, helping, and serving to acknowledge how each of these three approaches are relevant to their roles. I recommend that student affairs professionals move towards serving students by taking a holistic, student-centered approach that demonstrates care and compassion for the shifting needs of students in higher education.