Below is information on great activities and opportunities to join CIOs that promote both safety and wellness. Instead of using the dull, conventional “WANT TO JOIN?” advertising approach, I’d like to provide you with some insight into the Spring Wellness Forum our committee held on Sunday in order to give you a snapshot of the amazing things these groups are doing for our UVA community.
The groups represented at the forum included ADAPT, Active Minds, OneLess, One in Four, LGBTQ Center, QSU, PHE, and the Red Cross club. What was immediately apparent to me was how passionate the leaders were about helping the well-being of their fellow Hoos. When Carrie Myatt from the LGBTQ center stood up and introduced herself with the phrase, “I use she pronouns”, she educated all of us in the room about providing comfort and reducing anxiety for others in daily conversations. We felt the inspirational strength and conviction of Staige Davis, co-president of OneLess, when she discussed the importance of reaching out to administration to gain their support for survivors of sexual assault. Ellie Rigsby and Lauren McMahon from PHE discussed the variety of activities PHE had to offer and we saw their faces light up as they mentioned the PHE blogs (which I can vouch for-they are excellent! Link is below.) Matt Menezes, president of One in Four, and Johnny Lodge’s passion for educating men on bystander intervention and support of survivors was undeniable and refreshing. Megan Brosnan and Caity Briggs from ADAPT emphasized the importance of education on alcohol and substance abuse through presentations. Jomar Figueroa from QSU spoke about their role as a tight-knit community whose focus was to provide a safe space within the community. George Knaysi caused us to reflect as he discussed the importance of being more aware of our mental health, instead of solely focusing on our physical health. Finally, Beau Ewing from Red Cross sparked a funny debate about the effectiveness of a bear covered in glitter to show children that germs are everywhere, while also considering ways to get more blood donors.
At the beginning of the Spring Wellness Forum, Dean Seidel gave us a talk that she titled “Wellness through Mindfulness.” During her talk, she referred to an “attitude of gratitude”, giving us insight into her own journey with using a journal to keep documentation of all that she was grateful for. Consider this my public acknowledgement of gratitude for each of the groups present at the forum. What I want you to get from reading the one-sentence blurbs about each group is how passionate and eager all of these groups are to help make UVA safer and healthier. Both they and I want UVA to be a place where people don’t just say, “Wow, the people here are super attractive.” but instead refer to how healthy our environment and students are. Ideally, we’d have a community that was free from sexual assault, “not gay” chants, or stigmatizations of mental illness. Until that happens, however, we should recognize and appreciate the efforts of these groups that are getting us closer to achieving that end goal of an ideal UVA community. For their hard work and inspiring attitudes, I am grateful.
Contact information for each group and links to their sites:
1. Active Minds-club focusing on mental health
Contact: George Knaysi (email@example.com)
2. Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Treatment (ADAPT)
Website (links to the fb and twitter stem from this page): http://gordiecenter.studenthealth.virginia.edu/peer-education/adapt
3. American Red Cross Club
Contact: Beau Ewing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. LGBTQ Center
Contact: Alicia (email@example.com)
5. OneLess-all female group focusing on sexual assault prevention
Contact: Staige Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karina Carlson (email@example.com)
6. One in Four-all male group focusing on sexual assault prevention
Contact: Matt Menezes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
7. Peer Health Educators (PHE)
Contact: Seth McChesney (email@example.com)
8. Queer Student Union (QSU)
Contact: Jomar Figueroa (jf3af@Virginia.EDU)
Alex Pinkleton (firstname.lastname@example.org)-Chair of StudCo Safety and Wellness