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CSULB’S first Wellness Week: a recap on its aim and impact

As a way to ensure academic and life success and to take a more active approach in addressing students’ issues, CSULB put on its first campus-wide Wellness Week Oct. 21 through 25. 

The efforts were put forth as an attempt to alleviate students amidst a rising mental health crisis, according to president Jane Close Conoley.

“Each member of our campus community has a role to play in normalizing conversations around mental health, in raising awareness about resources available on and off-campus,” Conoley said in a statement.

The services brought on by Wellness Week, which ended Friday with an advisory board, brought addressed students’ mental and physical health issues in a new light. Meditation sessions and free massages asked for students to take into consideration some sort of relaxation period in between classes. Physical health and safety initiatives ranged from active safety response training to a healthy eating workshop. 

“It’s really tough for me being a full-time student, having a leadership position, and a part-time job,” said chair of University Student Union’s Board of Trustees Xan Balayan. “It’s important to help students have that balance.”

The Mental Health Town Hall on Monday held a five-member panel of mostly students that combated issues like students’ stress and anxiety. It emphasized the importance of students talking to one another in order to feel more comfortable knowing that they aren’t along.

“It was a great opportunity to continue that dialogue and break the stigma,” said Candice Chick, health and wellness outreach coordinator for the Division of Student Affairs. “We wanted to make everyone aware that we care and that we’re trying to make amazing differences.”

Wellness Week’s overall importance was showing students health resources that CSULB has on and off-campus.

“The programs for the whole week are aimed to build exposure for all the services that ASI provides for all their students that way they use it throughout the rest of their year,” said James Ahumada, Associated Student Inc.’s senior communications manager.

 Though Ahumada spoke on behalf of ASI’s involvement, the week had other sponsors, such as  Division of Student Affairs, the Student Wellness and Recreation Center and the University Police Department. Student Health Services offered an HIV clinic and free flu shots.

Dozens turned out to DSA’s Move for a Mile, which encouraged students and faculty to keep an active lifestyle.

“These kinds of events are important to promote a sense of community and also for your wellness,” Chick said. “Movement is great for our self-esteem … We all need to network and to have social pieces.”

During Thursday’s active shooter response training, UPD provided tips to staff and students on surviving mass casualty events as well as less common incidents such as vehicle ramming, stabbing and bomb threats.

“We’re very vulnerable in the university setting,” said Sgt. Robert Mullaney, corporal and lead of investigations for UPD. “Not because of anything we’re doing or failing to do, but because we’re so populated … as evil is changing, we have to adapt.”

To help students destress, UPD gave students free food at Thursday’s Pizza with the Police. 

“It’s not just about giving them pizza and sending them on their way,” said UPD Capt. Richard Goodwin. “It’s about pizza and opening that dialogue so they free open to come talk to us.”

The Wellness Week experience is one that the university is going to fine-tune more and more as it moves forward. By holding an opening town hall meeting and a closing advisory board, the DSA assured students that it is open to feedback.

“We are trying to make amazing differences,” Chick said. “We want to make sure we know what to keep doing and what to know that there is a lack of so we can make it great.”

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