Behind the Scenes: Student Affairs ‘Ripcord’ Advocates for Students

| April 2, 2013

Justin Barton, right, with alumna Emily Bahr

Retention initiatives program coordinator Justin (James) Barton thinks of himself as the “Ripcord” for students at the Webster Groves campus.

As a member of the Student Affairs team, Justin’s role is to advocate for students while familiarizing them with on- and off-campus resources. His goal is to help students stay enrolled while achieving academic success.

Justin wears many hats at Webster. He’s involved in New Student Orientation, Freshman Registration Days and Admitted Student Day and also oversees Webster’s mascot, the Gorlok. He is the coordinator for at-risk alerts via the MAP-WORKS system and is involved with Money Talks, a financial literacy education grant.

During registration time, Justin sends messages to thousands of students reminding them to register. He also teaches a service learning class and serves as a guest lecturer for the Webster Leads program while supervising approximately 30 students through the peer mentor program known as the Connection leaders.

Justin’s history is one of advocating — and “cheering” — for students. He started cheering during his senior year of high school and started a cheerleading program in college, eventually earning a partial cheerleading scholarship. His background includes work as a recruiter and cheerleading coach for Jefferson College, and he created an all-star cheer and gymnastics program for kids ages 5 – 18.

Presently, Justin serves as mascot coordinator at Webster while coaching cheer for UMSL and Ursuline Academy in St. Louis.

Justin’s passion is serving students and he calls himself the “Ripcord” for two reasons:

  1. Students may not remember his name, but they do remember the “Ripcord.”
  2. He sees himself as a lifeline for students — he wants them to know they are never alone and the “Ripcord” is available to help.


Category: Campus Snapshots, Employee News

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