Together We Thrive: USciences Launches ‘Whole-Campus Well-Being’ Project

Published on March 22, 2019

Since USciences created the Office of Health and Wellness in January 2018, efforts of the employees and Assistant Dean of Health and Wellness Heidi Freeman PhD, have been reviewing the scope and content of current programming, assessing student needs, and developing a comprehensive holistic model of well-being. One overarching goal of the Office of Health and Wellness is to engage the entire campus community in fostering the well-being of students.

The current project, Together We Thrive: USciences Whole Campus Well-Being Infusion, is designed to engage students, faculty, and staff in collaborative well-being programming throughout curricular and co-curricular spaces. The proposed project, funded by the American College Health Foundation Well-Being Award, is composed of three components: the development of a peer health education program, the infusion of well-being modules into academic courses, and a micro-grant fund for student organizations engaging in well-being programming.

The office’s current focus for the peer health education program includes alcohol and substance use, healthy relationships and sexual decision making, stress management, healthy eating and exercise, and caring for each other (bystander intervention and reducing the stigma around mental health needs). Peer educators will assist in first-year health promotion programming and campus outreach efforts. The award will fund the training of two additional course instructors in the NASPA Certified Peer Educator training course, provide books and materials for 20 students, and t-shirts for the peer educators.

Modeled after the Englehard Project at Georgetown University, “Well-Being Course Infusions” is a program through which faculty link their course content with a topic related to health and well-being. The purpose is not for faculty to “pause” their course, teach a health promotion class, and then resume their course, but to teach a piece of their course content through the lens of student well-being. Based on the concept of “short moments, repeated many times,” embedding health and wellness topics in a variety of courses throughout a student’s education provides multiple opportunities for students to explore their own health and well-being as well as make personal connections to course content, enhancing both their personal and academic development.  The award will fund four stipends of $300 each to support faculty and staff in the development of Well-Being Course Infusion modules.

The goal of the micro-grant portion of the project is to engage students in the design and implementation of well-being initiatives, encourage them to think deeply about their needs, and empower them to meet those needs and care for each other. Organizations may request up to $200 in support of a program or activity that supports student well-being. The award will fund up to five $200 micro-grants.

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