BGSU introduces a Community of Care ahead of fall semester
When students return to campus this fall, wellness will play a leading role in their overall experience. And, it will be more than a measure of each individual's well-being.
Bowling Green State University is introducing a Community of Care that emphasizes the role all members of the campus community have in one another's well-being.
"We're all responsible for our own health and wellness, but we can look out for others, too," said BGSU Chief Health Officer Ben Batey. "Whether you are a faculty or staff member or student, we can all be accountable for creating a supportive community where we can recognize if an individual is in need of help."
Investing in a Community of Care
The Community of Care will focus on mental health and suicide prevention; alcohol and substance abuse prevention; hazing prevention; sexual misconduct and Title IX; and diversity and inclusion. BGSU will promote additional in-depth trainings for students, faculty and staff on these topics that will include intervention training.
“Our goal is to have more people on our campus empowered to take action and to offer consistent trainings so all of our students, faculty and staff know what they can do if they see these things happening,” Batey said. “If you see something that feels wrong or fits into one of those areas, we want you to report it."
In addition to more training and raised awareness, BGSU will realign internal resources to create a Community of Care steering committee to enhance partnerships between departments and divisions working on these areas across campus.
The University has also invested in added resources to support the initiative, including expanding positions in the Counseling Center, hiring an additional substance use disorder counselor, and a health educator focused on mental health in the Wellness Connection.
BGSU will introduce a Community of Care to students, faculty and staff at the start of the Fall 2021 semester with a campus-wide commitment, similar to the Falcon Commitment aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 that members of the BGSU community signed prior to the start of the Fall 2020 semester.
A long-term commitment to wellness
Batey leads the Division of Health and Wellness and will oversee the Community of Care in conjunction with key partners working in each of these areas across campus. Batey will also serve as the hazing prevention coordinator for the University.
The Community of Care is an important component of the University's prioritization of health and wellness.
"Even before the global pandemic, there was a long-term plan and recognition that we needed to support our students' wellness as part of our mission at BGSU," said Batey, who has led the University's COVID-19 Response Team for the last year. "Our students come here to learn and find their career path, but also to grow as individuals, and health and wellness need to be part of that development."
In addition to the Community of Care, incoming students will learn how to recognize and support their own well-being through introductory courses this fall, a first for many students.
"Most of our students have heard the basics - eat right, exercise. But, wellness is much deeper than that," Batey said. "We need to all learn how to stop and assess our overall well-being, including our physical, mental and emotional health. If we need additional support in any of those areas, let's build that toolkit now and start those conversations."
The University will emphasize the interconnectedness of health of wellness through each individual's well-being and the accountability each member of the community has to one another through the Community of Care.
"One of the greatest lessons from COVID-19 is that we are all in this together - my decisions can impact you. Let's leverage what we learned from COVID and make a better place for all of us," said Batey.
Updated: 07/30/2021 01:21PM