Student Support Network

Learn to Help Friends When They Need You Most

WPI’s Student Support Network (SSN) six-week training program gives you the skills to help friends in crisis. We discuss mental and emotional health, warning signs of a friend who’s struggling, how to talk about issues, plus resources—and getting a friend to connect with those. We practice situations with role-playing and visualization in order to build your ability to respond effectively when the real thing happens.

Beyond SSN training, you’re not committed to any other activity or responsibility.

The SSN training from the SDCC taught me how to help my peers when they were in need. This experience has proved invaluable over the years; I would recommend it, without reservation, to any student who is interested.


The primary goal of SSN is to expand and enrich the campus support network so every member of our community has people looking out for him or her—and all know where to go for help when things get tough. To achieve this end, we have a few secondary goals.

  • Knowledge. To give you information about common student struggles, and what you and others can do to help.
  • Skills. To help you develop your helping skills, particularly the skill of empathetic listening and responding, through practice.
  • Perspectives. To provide a safe place to look at issues facing college students from a variety of viewpoints and find a way to think about these without perpetuating stigmas.
  • Connection. To build meaningful connections, both between you and us at the SDCC, and between you and your fellow trainees.

Am I a Good Fit for SSN?

The answer is yes. We designed the training for any student (and there’s now a staff/faculty track), and we never turn applicants away other than for scheduling conflicts or sessions becoming full. The time commitment is one hour a week for six weeks, with meeting times changing each term to fit staff and student availability. We currently train students in B-, C-, and D-Terms, and staff and faculty in A-Term. Trainings are conducted by members of the SDCC staff who rotate in and out; by the end, we hope you'll have met most of our staff.

What Next?

If you're interested in our SSN training series, complete our quick online SSN Application. If the next session doesn’t fit your schedule, we can keep your information on record for a future session. Once you’ve applied, we'll contact you to discuss scheduling and invite you to an open house in the last few weeks of the term prior to your training term (A for B, C for D, etc.) to get to know you and answer any questions. Then training begins! Students really enjoy this program. Next time you see someone in an SSN hoodie on campus, ask him or her about it.

 Apply here: SSN Application

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It's 3 a.m. You're up late finding more sources for a group project when you notice your Facebook tab flashing. You click over and see an IM from your friend: "This is the worst night of my life. I've been crying for hours. I can't deal with this stupid life anymore." You want to respond quickly, but hesitate…What can you say? What if things you say only make it worse? What if your friend is thinking of…You don't even want to go there. You want to help, but you're just not sure how…

SSN’s training program gives you the tools to handle this kind of situation.

In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.

Fred Rogers