For many students, attending college can prove to be a challenging time. While at Iowa State, some students might feel homesick, while others might find it difficult to navigate American culture after growing up in a different country. Other students might feel out of place as the first in their family able to go to college, while other students might arrive at college later in life after raising a family or serving in the military. When facing these individual obstacles, it can also be difficult for students to find the resources and mentorship needed to help them thrive, which can often lead to even greater challenges, such as personal debt or physical illness.
To provide more support to its students, Iowa State established Student Wellness in 2017. This new initiative uses a comprehensive approach to promote a healthy university that values all students' well-being while also examining the broader issues of social inequity that serve as barriers to students' academic and personal success. In doing so, Student Wellness follows the recommendations of the Okanagan Charter, a framework for personal well-being outlined at the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, and helps students navigate eight personal dimensions: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness.
In guiding individuals to create positive goals and shape behavior changes to meet those goals, Student Wellness works closely with ISU WellBeing, as well as with many other campus and community partners. Specific initiatives include the Cyde Kicks peer-to-peer coaching program, a financial literacy course sponsored by the Student Loan Education Office, the Peer Wellness Educator student-to-student wellness promotion program, as well as the Green Dot campaign that seeks to decrease power-based violence on Iowa State's campus. If you would like to take advantage of these resources, contact Student Wellness at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We believe that health inequity is caused by social inequity, so we are working with other campus partners to dismantle those barriers, whether that's through access to information or care, through policy or environmental changes, through individual strategies or a combination of all those. That's really the foundation of who we are and what we do: we are striving to create a health-promoting university that supports the success and well-being of all students."
-Brian Vanderheyden, Student Wellness Manager