Support Services and Intervention

Attending college is an exciting time for students who face a new realm of possibilities and opportunities. The University also recognizes that this can be a stressful period as many students are balancing multiple financial, social, academic and personal obligations. As members of the Elmhurst University community—students, staff, and faculty—we are responsible for supporting one another.

If you come across someone who is experiencing distress, you may be in a position to offer support or guide the person to an appropriate campus resource. Please read through our support options and programs on this page to get connected to help and guidance.

Care Team

Elmhurst is committed to the safety of all community members. The campus’ Care Team serves as the centralized body for communication and follow-up regarding students that exhibit behavioral patterns that raise a concern for their well-being or the well-being of the campus community.

The Care Team is founded on the principles of early intervention, proactive engagement, and collaboration to prevent harm and provide support services. Led by the Director of Student Support Services and Intervention, the Care Team meets weekly and team members include campus partners from Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. All members are committed to providing early interventions, advocacy, referrals, and follow-up services for students who are experiencing significant difficulties.

Care Team Members

  • Academic Affairs
  • Access and Disability Services
  • Athletics
  • Counseling Services
  • Housing and Residence Life
  • Public Safety
  • Student Affairs

When to Refer a Student

To refer a student to the Care Team, please complete a Student of Concern Referral form. The following behaviors may indicate that a person could be distressed and/or a concern to the campus community. The behaviors listed below are not an exhaustive list.

  • Sudden inconsistent or deteriorating quality of work
  • Repeated and/or increased tardiness or absences
  • Missed, late, or incomplete assignments
  • Disorganized work and/or presentation of ideas
  • Multiple requests for extensions
  • Overly demanding faculty or staff’s time and attention
  • Bizarre content in writing or presentations
  • Disproportionate anxiety about coursework and/or in response to grades
  • Marked changes in physical appearance (deteriorating or poor hygiene, disheveled appearance, soiled clothes, noticeable weight loss/gain)
  • Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol
  • Noticeably slowed, rapid, disconnected, garbled, or slurred speech
  • Appears consistently fatigued and/or falling asleep in class
  • Appears confused, disoriented, or out of touch with reality
  • Delusions and paranoia
  • Exhibits high levels of emotionality, tearfulness, crying, or panic reactions
  • Excessively demanding or dependent behavior
  • Expression of suicidal thoughts and/or implying or making direct threat to harm self or others
  • Angry outbursts, intimidating or aggressive behavior
  • Expressions of worthlessness, hopelessness, despair
  • Unpredictable and/or rapid shifts in mood
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress (e.g. family or financial problems, housing/food insecurity, grief)
  • Concerning communication via email, correspondence, texting, or phone calls
  • Unusual or erratic behavior in class, in the residence halls, or other campus engagements
  • Extended absences from class or activities by a typically engaged student
  • Academic assignments express troubling themes or references
  • Written or verbal expressions of suicidal ideations or intent
  • Disclosure of hardship such as food, financial, or housing insecurity
  • Other actions that cause concern the safety of other students or peers

For assistance or consultation while completing this referral, please contact the Director of Student Support Services and Intervention in the Office of Student Affairs at (630) 617-5790.

For more information on how to help a distressed student, please refer to your Resource Folder.


Faculty, staff, and students can refer a student to the Director of Student Support Services and Intervention and the Care Team by submitting a Student of Concern Referral form. Once a report is submitted, the Director of Student Support Services and Intervention, in consultation with the Care Team, will assess the report and determine the best course of action.

The Director of Student Support Services and Intervention conducts outreach on behalf of the campus community when there is a concern for a student’s wellbeing. The goal is to meet with the student, understand what they have been experiencing, and try to connect them with resources and support options. Meeting with the Director (or their designee) is intended to be a non-punitive measure to help support students through whatever they may be experiencing.

Please note: Any information submitted in a Student of Concern Referral, whether in person, over the phone, via email, or through the online referral form, becomes a part of the student’s educational record, subject to FERPA, and may be disclosed to the student upon the student’s request.

Basic Needs Services

The Care Team and Director of Student Support Services and Intervention respond to a variety of student concerns, including basic needs. If a student is in need of support due to financial and economic insecurity, housing insecurity, and/or food insecurity, please complete a Student of Concern Referral form.

Higher Education Housing and Opportunities Act

This act requires that all colleges and universities, private or public, in the state of Illinois provide resources and assistance to students who are experiencing homelessness. This act also recognizes “students in care” which means any person, regardless of age, who is or was under the care and legal custody of the Department of Child and Family Services.

The Illinois Public Act 102-0083 requires all higher education institutions to designate a staff member as the Housing and Opportunities that are Useful for Students Liaison. The HOUSE Liaison is a person who has been trained through the Illinois Board of Higher Education who understands the purpose of this􀁁 and is able to recognize and support those students’ experiencing homelessness or student in care enrolled at the institution.

The HOUSE Liaison at Elmhurst University is Colleen Zavodny, Director of Student Support Services and Intervention.

The HOUSE Liaison trains faculty and staff to identify students experiencing homelessness. The Liaison works closely with other departments to ensure students receive maximum benefits under the Higher Education Housing and Opportunities Act. The HOUSE Liaison is responsible for gathering and reporting key data on this student population to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, including the graduation and retention rate of homeless students and students in care enrolled at Elmhurst University.

Contact the Elmhurst University HOUSE Liaison
Colleen Zavodny, Elmhurst University

Colleen Zavodny

Director of Student Support Services and Intervention
Office of Student Affairs

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