View From The Hill: Student Wellness Navigators help CHHS freshmen navigate the rigors of college life

CHHS implements Student Wellness Experience
Student Wellness Navigators help CHHS freshmen navigate the rigors of college life
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:48 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Going to college is a huge transition, especially after a worldwide pandemic.

WKU’s College of Health and Human Services launched a student wellness program last fall to help freshmen navigate the changes.

“I’ve never had a problem that there hasn’t been someone available to help me with and guide me through.”

Freshman Braden Clough has nothing but positive feedback about the fourteen-week student wellness class he took at the beginning of the school year.

“Just the class in general.  Meeting each other and realizing ok I’m not in this alone, there are other people just like me and we’re gonna get through this together.”

Marsha Hopper is one of two wellness navigators hired last summer to teach the class and assist students in their transition to college life.

“This is an inaugural program that Dr. Basta created for our CHHS students.  We want them to be successful.   We want them to have resources.  We want them to come and if they have any kind of barriers or hurdles we want to help them.”

Dr. Basta says the idea for the program came to her when thinking back to her own undergraduate experience.

“One of things I realized is that I didn’t know how to get involved.”

“While kids today have everything at their disposal technology-wise, they still don’t know how to find the people that they want to associate with and get to know.  They may not be able to find organizations and clubs.”

The student wellness experience centers around the eight dimensions of wellness.

“Some of the students that have come to us have told us, they’d never been challenged like this before in a class to think about that, total wellness and well-being.”

Freshman Grace Adler says the class really outlined tools she can use to manage stress.

“It really helped with first semester freshmen, with stress relief and having the tools to be able to get through my first semester with as less stress as possible.”

“I think it raises their self-esteem and especially if they come up with a plan of self-care, here’s what I can do for myself and help them to identify that and to stick with it.”

Both of the wellness navigators serve students who are part of Living Learning Communities in the College for Health and Human Services.   They hope to meet with each CHHS freshmen individually this semester.