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What are the campus wide wellness initiatives JCU offers?

The JCU Wellness Center offers a slew of destressing programs to combat the nature of a college environment.
Through+the+Health+and+Wellness+Center%2C+John+Carroll+understands+the+priority+of+mental+health+amid+stressful+circumstances.
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Through the Health and Wellness Center, John Carroll understands the priority of mental health amid stressful circumstances.

As stressed college students, it can be difficult to juggle multiple responsibilities all while taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing. Pursuing an education to the fullest extent and feeling completely healthy in all aspects of one’s life seems like an impossible oxymoron. However, this is where crucial organizations like John Carroll University’s Wellness Center come into play.

According to Inside Higher Ed, collegiates frequently list “reducing stress,” “eating a healthier diet,” and “getting more sleep” as some of their top goals. This becomes especially true when “57% of students” who report “chronic stress in college” simultaneously feel like their health impacts their academic performance, with three-fourths of these students claiming that “their physical health and wellness negatively impacts their ability to focus, learn and do well in class a great deal or somewhat.” Needless to say, initiatives that tackle these pressing issues are needed at institutions like JCU.

So, what does John Carroll offer to their students in the world of wellness?

Well, one of the first departments new Blue Streaks engage with on campus is the Wellness Center through bystander training. According to Jamie Greenwolf, the assistant director of Student Wellbeing, this is one of the “biggest impact” programs because it is part of the housing process, meaning it touches hundreds of students each year.

“I started working at the wellness center this semester and I’m enthralled by their programs such as their ‘Find your why’ and ‘Beyond Measure’ which promote a healthy mindset for students who are concerned about their physical appearance,” Peer Health Advocate Aaron Fernando ‘25 told The Carroll News.

One common way that students interact with the Wellness Center is through their student employees known as Peer Health Advocates or PHAs. This team of 18 students works together to educate the campus through various methods of outreach such as athlete specific programming and events hosted through resident assistants.

I started working at the wellness center this semester and I’m enthralled by their programs such as their ‘Find your why’ and ‘Beyond Measure.’

— Aaron Fernando ‘25

“[The PHAs are] put into one of three groups, they’re all cross trained, but the groups are physical health, mental health and relational,” Greenwolf told The Carroll News. “They plan the larger initiatives… and they also do four programs a semester, which can be anything from visiting the core advising classes, to going to Kappa Delta, visiting a residence hall floor, it’s anything like that.”

This group of students is responsible for many of the programs visible around campus the Wellness Center sponsors, including hosting booths at the Take Care Fair, putting on large-scale educational opportunities like the Period Fair and even aiding first-year students through their transition to college via seminars. These initiatives help students of all classes learn about complex topics and apply these skills to their day to day lives.

“The Period Fair was a unique way for us to celebrate the beauty of the menstrual cycle and all of the highs and lows that come with it,” Katie Benaquista ‘24, the PHA who kickstarted this year’s fair, told The Carroll News. “Our goal was to decrease the stigma of periods and make it so that menstruators are free to learn and talk about their bodies. I think that presenting it in a fun and interactive way engaged the community and at the very least opened some minds up to learning more.”

PHAs also have a heavy hand in planning things such as the events associated with Suicide Prevention Month through white flag displays and extensive suicide prevention training known as QPR. Another annual enterprise the Wellness Center undertakes is helping to curate the events that bolster Sexual Assault Awareness Month at John Carroll. This includes working with organizations like the Women and Allies Coalition on advocacy fronts and with the Kappa Delta sorority on their clothesline project.

“It was somewhat of a sobering experience, but it’s a really important and powerful project in fighting rape culture and stigma,” Becca Kilmer ‘24, a 2023 volunteer with the clothesline project, told The Carroll News. “I’m really proud to have been part of it with KD.”

Besides the first Period Fair which was held last month, many PHAs are responsible for bringing fresh ideas to JCU. The women and non-binary workout is a one-to-two hour long fitness class that creates a safe space in the Corbo Fitness Center for those who normally do not feel comfortable working out in a traditionally masculine space. This first started in the spring of 2023 and has grown exponentially since, with other programs blooming from its pedagogy such as the new men’s only yoga session.

“Helping organize the Women and Nonbinary Workout Time in Corbo Fitness Center has been a meaningful experience,” PHA Julia DiFranco ‘24 told The Carroll News. “It’s been great to be a part of an initiative that has allowed for a judgment-free environment for those who may feel apprehensive about starting their physical activity journey.”

From one of your first moments on campus to late nights in a residence hall as a senior and all things in between, John Carroll’s Wellness Center offers a myriad of support to any student who wants to not only survive, but truly thrive while earning their degree. For any inquiries or questions, email [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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