TSTC student Armando Mantano grabs some milk from a freezer at the Fort Bend County campus food pantry.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – The spring semester has officially begun at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County. Over 100 new students joined the now 552-strong student body. Each student comes with their own unique talents and abilities.

The TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC) stands ready to help the students have a fulfilling and meaningful experience at TSTC. From a food pantry to books and supplies, students can receive help no matter what their unique challenges may be.

Larissa Moreno works as the coach for the ARC at the Fort Bend County campus. While her position at the ARC is rather new, she has spent the last eight years serving the students at TSTC.

“I started off with new student orientation and then rolled into being a student life coordinator,” Moreno said. “I have worked with the students face to face my entire higher education career.”

She began at the Harlingen campus before accepting her current position at the Fort Bend County campus. She brought her passion for helping others with her and continues to advocate for every student she meets.

“What we are trying to do is promote a culture of caring,” Moreno stated.

The ARC provides access to a range of resources for students, from food pantries to supplies to transportation assistance. The goal of the center is to remove barriers that would prevent students from having a successful education.

Moreno also spends time connecting with the community. There are some resources that the ARC is unable to provide on its own, and having connections with local organizations helps fill those needs.

Her main job is to meet with the students and assess their needs.

“I ask the questions that really need to be asked,” Moreno said. “Do they have a safe place to stay? Are they having a hard time adjusting to the college life schedule? Or are they struggling mentally or to manage their budget?”

The ARC does more than simply connect students with needed resources. It also provides navigation and training during the process. The goal is that the students will be able to continue to find the resources they need on their own, even after graduation.

To promote its services, Moreno will go to various events throughout the semester, including new student orientation. She also will stay late once a week in order to help the students who are attending evening classes.

“When you are food insecure or you don’t have money in your bank account, those things take away from your ability to focus in your classrooms,” Moreno shared. “If I can just remove that small barrier, that allows them to be much more successful in the classroom, and that is what we want.”

The ARC is designed to assist students with nonacademic barriers and help them to get back on the path toward graduation. Its services are available at all of TSTC’s campuses.

TSTC is located across 10 different campuses in the state of Texas. Greater Houston is served by the Fort Bend County campus located in Rosenberg. It offers a variety of programs, including Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology, HVAC Technology, Welding Technology, and more.

For more information about TSTC, go to tstc.edu.

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