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Student Affairs Hosts First Wellness Summit

Student Affairs Hosts First Wellness Summit
Charles Lane, associate senior vice president of Career and Protective Services

Staff members from USC schools, the Health Sciences campus, Student Affairs and other university divisions gathered at the Davidson Center on June 8 for a Wellness Summit, the first of its kind at USC.

The summit was created and hosted by the Student Affairs Wellness and Learning Initiatives, a committee formed in 2008 with the purpose of bettering the holistic student experience.

The Wellness and Learning Iniatiative is one of three university wellness initiatives, joined by the Provost’s Family Friendly Initiative and the Risk Control Task Force, newly renamed Safe Communities.

Denzil Suite, associate vice president for Student Affairs, began the summit by explaining its goals of “promoting synergy and innovation around wellness” and establishing “a common understanding of wellness.”

Charles Lane, associate senior vice president of Career and Protective Services, discussed USC’s recent designation as a Safe Community by the World Health Organization. Detailing the extensive work that led to this distinction, Lane emphasized the collaboration, research and self-questioning that would be crucial to other wellness initiatives.

“Difficult problems often cannot be addressed with timid solutions,” Lane said. “We need to think about which people we’re going to get involved and how we’re going to start that dialogue.”

That dialogue commenced minutes later. Karen Moses, director of Wellness and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, asked participants to discuss and share the varying definitions of health and wellness; distinguish the two; and ascertain how they affect students’ learning.

Over the next few hours, Moses identified four different areas of the university – the environment, people, institution and community – and asked attendees to identify the stressors associated with each category and consider how they could potentially alleviate those anxieties individually and as departments.

“Prior to the summit, there wasn’t a sense of meaningful, purposeful movement,” said Paula Swinford, director of Health Promotion and Prevention Services. “But when you get a group of 40 people together to talk about these issues, and it’s something they all want, you have push behind that.”

Student Affairs Hosts First Wellness Summit

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