Photo courtesy of Institute Communications

Dana Hartley was named by Tech as the homeless liaison as part of the Direct Point of Contact (DPOC) system. Her role is to act as the point of contact and an advocate for students who find themselves homeless at Tech.

“[DPOC] is a very recent program. I think the whole national issue of college completion really helped shine light on student issues that had been invisible before,” Hartley said.

Currently an undergraduate coordinator in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), Hartley was Director of Academic Advising and the Director of Undergraduate Students.

Hartley coordinated with Embarks Project—a network that employs students who are familiar with issues regarding homelessness—for the past three months in order to create an interface to guide students who are in unfortunate financial situation.

The Department of Education helps Hartley by providing access to the contact information for foster care children. This makes Hartley the bridge that connects students to knowledge about valuable resources on campus.

“As you’re in college you really become your own person, and parents are usually the ones on the side helping you set a path in the beginning. And I find it very rewarding to help students navigate through college system and also make sure they do not fall out of the path,” Hartley said.

Proposed by University System of Georgia (USG) and backed by Governor Nathan Deal in September of 2012, the plan attempts to redirect unfavorable financial circumstance that some students may experience.

In addition to obtaining STEM degrees, which is a priority particularly pronounced in Georgia Tech, increasing the retention and graduation rate is also a persisting cross of interest between the school and the state of Georgia. Compared to other exemplary universities like MIT and Stanford, Georgia Tech’s six-year graduation rate of 80%  lags behind the average rate of 84%. The plan addresses Tech’s low graduation rate problem by establishing goals that focus on those students who are under economic pressure.

“I think it is interesting to note that in the time this program was being developed, students at Georgia Tech had already created the suit borrowing program with C2D2 and the soon to be Klemis Kitchen.  It is wonderful to watch how these efforts come together,” said Harley.

Klemis Kitchen, a program for providing low cost meals using unused ingredients from dining halls is a useful resource.