Support a Holistic Approach to Wellness at Scripps

Students in front of Balch Hall

Recently, the Division of Student Affairs at Scripps has been promoting a holistic approach to wellness with new programming. “Scripps is a college that cares about its students’ success, inside and outside of the classroom,” says Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson. “It’s crucial that we invest in resources that support student wellness.”

These programs exist, in part, due to the generous financial support and assistance from Scripps alums, families, and friends. Your gifts bring educational programs to campus, ensure that students have access to quality counseling, and support wellness programming throughout the year. Gifts provide the resources to create strong community connections among students, staff and faculty. These connections are one of the fundamental aspects of Scripps’ holistic approach to health and wellness.

Scripps offers every student individualized support and the opportunity to develop tools to create their own path to wellness. To help build a healthy community, many Scripps student leaders are trained to recognize when their peers may need support, and trained on how to refer students to appropriate resources. “Rather than focusing on any one aspect of wellness, we work with students on a multifaceted approach that includes connecting to resources, vibrant community, stress reduction, mental health, and physical fitness,” says Johnson.

Gifts to The Scripps Fund have expanded our students’ access to mental health resources by allowing the College to subsidize the cost of treatment with local counselors and increase programming related to suicide prevention and the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. Scripps is guided in its efforts by the JED Campus Program, which promotes a public health approach to wellness on college campuses. “These steps have helped de-stigmatize mental health and have empowered students to seek help,” says Assistant Director of Student Health and Wellness Jennifer Shipley.

Scripps has also increased programmatic efforts that help students find community and form connections. “We know that when a student is connected, they feel less isolated, more engaged in the community, and are more successful academically and in their co-curricular experiences,” says Assistant Dean and Director of the Tiernan Field House Deborah Gisvold. “Fresh Check,” created in fall 2017, is one example of engagement-driven events established for students. During Fresh Check, students take time out to de-stress, socialize, and learn about wellness through activities, a petting zoo, and informational tables featuring Scripps and 7C resources. The Field House holds “De-stress Thursdays,” where students engage in fun activities and connect with their peers. The Field House also hosts many alcohol-free events throughout the year as an alternative to the larger 5C parties held on the various campuses. And Scripps’ New Student Programs and Orientation continues to improve upon its programming for incoming students so that finding and forming community are at the center of the orientation experience.

These programs have yielded positive results; more than ever, students are connecting with the community, receiving the attention they need in order to succeed at Scripps, and learning how to prioritize wellness. In combination with other programs and services, Scripps provides a Primary Contact Dean to every student, enabling students to build relationships with student affairs professionals who help them navigate the college experience. Thanks to donor funding, Scripps has also been able to hire a professional case manager who works with students in crisis to establish a plan of care. The combination of these programs and initiatives has contributed to a happier and healthier Scripps student community.

While Scripps has made enormous strides in increasing wellness access and education on campus, there is more to be done. Gifts from alums, families, and friends can help us get there. Johnson reflects on current successes and looks ahead to opportunities: “It would be fabulous to have a go-to wellness fund in the future.” Johnson envisions being able to fund off-campus counseling sessions for students indefinitely. Likewise, Gisvold would like to bring renowned holistic health speakers to campus for community conversations, and Shipley hopes to conduct more educational trainings to expand the peer health educator program.

“The ideas for increasing wellness opportunities on campus are limitless, and it would be amazing if we could make this vision a reality for our students,” says Johnson.

To support our holistic approach to wellness at Scripps, click here and designate your gift to “mental health and wellness programs.”

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