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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 16, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

News

New program aims to help students balance their lives

THRIVE at IC held its first wellness workshop Oct. 8 with the aim of offering tips to students on how to balance the social, emotional and physical aspects of their lives. 

The workshops meet from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Muller Chapel and are open to all Ithaca College students. The program is organized through the Center for Health Promotion in partnership with the Dean’s Office and the Office of Case Management. Kelley Cook, case manager in the college’s case management office, said the program was introduced to the college with the goal of creating a more accessible outlet for students to learn about maintaining emotional and physical wellness in college. Cook said the workshops offer a welcoming environment and require no registration or preparation. No students were in attendance at the first session.

THRIVE workshops differ from other counseling options at the college because they are a drop-in option that aims to be more accessible to students, said Kristen Lind, health promotion specialist in the Office of Counseling and Wellness. Other programs offered at the college — like individual meetings with counselors and group therapy sessions at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services — must be scheduled in advance and have limited availability.

“We don’t automatically figure all of this out when we graduate college,” Lind said. “It’s about becoming aware about how [balance] works and giving people a chance to explore that for themselves.”

Every workshop consists of both self-reflection and group discussions that focus on different methods of coping and finding a balance to maintain overall wellness, Cook said. She said she encourages all students to attend the workshops as a way to find out how they can manage their stress and emotions.

Lind said the program works with a “Resilience Pyramid” that focuses on the needs of students at the college. The pyramid, which was adapted from a similar model used at Cornell University, organizes basic needs like maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and allowing time for selfreflection and a social life. The pyramid functions as a guide for students to find ways to balance these sectors in their own lives.

She said the goal of the program is to find actionable and realistic ways to help students create better habits in their everyday lives. 

“We talk about resiliencebuilding as a skill,” Lind said.

Lind said she believes all students can benefit from the workshops and hopes more will find time to fit them into their schedules. The next meeting will be held Nov. 12.

“Nobody coming that first time is not a sign that it’s not a topic that’s needed or that people want to talk about,” Lind said. 

Senior Kelly Madden, Active Minds National Student Advisory Committee member and copresident of the college’s chapter of Active Minds — a nonprofit organization that works to advocate and educate students about mental health — said the college can do more to promote the workshops.

“I don’t see anyone promoting [the wellness workshops] other than when I walk into Hammond, and I see there’s a pamphlet in the corner,” Madden said. 

Lind said the workshops are flexible and cover information that is relevant to students’ lives. She encourages students to come in with questions or concerns to discuss at the meetings.

For students who are looking for additional or more individualized guidance, Lind said she recommends wellness coaching, which is confidential and offered for free through the Center for Health Promotion.