University offers web chat services

Cardinal Chat Room, a new resource

By Amy Perkins

Staff Reporter

All you need is a computer and Internet access. From the comfort of your own home (or alternative location) you can find out what other Ball State students are thinking and feeling about a wide variety of issues.

Issues such as the feeling of what to do now that mom and dad aren't around, what you did this past weekend and more serious issues like sexual assault are discussed. These subjects are a few examples that have been discussed in the Cardinal Chat Room.

The service is sponsored by the health and education department but relies heavily on student involvement. The chat room started as an idea of Donna Dodson, Coordinator of Health Education, as a way to get a feel for the issues Ball State students are going through and the activities in which they are taking part.

In order to spur some of the discussions, a new topic gets introduced every Monday at 10 p.m. This allows students to have a more directed discussion, but if the focus goes somewhere else, that is OK too, says a representative from the health department. The representative, who is also a student, monitors the Monday evening topic. Although the room is only overseen for an hour on Monday evenings, it is still stressed that everything said remains confidential. The monitor is required only to create a question for a discussion that will create conversation for the users.

The Cardinal Chat Room is available 24 hours a day and is very easy to use. The goal of the program is for the chat room to act as an open forum for students to come and discuss issues affecting them. The issues do not have to be related to health, but can cover a wide range of topics. Many times students find it easier to discuss issues in their lives if they use an alias.

In order to take part in the chat room, go to, then click on the chat link. From there you are asked to submit a screen name for the chat session. You are even allowed to select a color for your name and text to appear in.

The service itself is still too new to measure its success. Those in the health education department, however, are optimistic about its potential.

"The sexual assault topic that was discussed was very successful; we had a lot of individuals log on to voice their opinions. That is what we want," said a department representative.

If you have any questions about the Cardinal Chat Room or any other services offered by the health education department, call 285-3773.