Vaughn College Makes Student Health a Priority
It should come as no surprise that college students experience a lot of stress. Between balancing their courses, studying, commuting, interning and frequently holding down a job on top of it all, pursuing a degree can be a challenge. Fortunately, students at Vaughn College can count on the office of counseling and wellness to help them prioritize both their mental and physical health.
Dr. Dinelly Holder, director of counseling and wellness at Vaughn, weighs in on the many on-campus programs and workshops available to students and how she and the College are committed to keeping them on a positive and healthy emotional track. “My goal at Vaughn is to give our students the support, encouragement and positivity they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
The Office of Counseling and Wellness
Vaughn encourages any student who may be feeling stressed, or just has the need talk to someone, to make an appointment at the office of counseling and wellness. “We want our students to know that we are here for them, no matter how trivial they may think their situation is,” said Dr. Holder. “It’s all about positivity and leaving here with a sense of purpose and a better mindset.”
Throughout the year, the office of counseling and wellness hosts interactive educational programs and live performances to engage students in some of today’s most prevalent issues, in addition to other wellness-related workshops and events.
Here is a snapshot of these on-campus events:
- “Sex Signals”—This educational program features a live performance with local actors who depict real-life scenarios surrounding inappropriate behavior and sexual advances. The student audience is asked to participate when the situation becomes inappropriate or dangerous. “This program ties in with the ‘see something, say something’ movement,” Dr. Holder explained. “It’s a great way for students to have a voice while learning the importance of rape prevention.”
- Drug and Alcohol Workshop—This group workshop is presented by an outside expert who discusses the issues and dangers of drug and alcohol use. Students will gain helpful tips and prevention tactics to lead a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.
- “Save a Life Tour”—This interactive educational program is designed to show students the hard reality of drinking or texting while driving. Students have the opportunity to sit in a simulator, or “drunk car,” to get an up-close experience of the devastating effects of driving under the influence. To drive the message home even further, students are presented with a graphic video of the harsh reality of what can happen if they take that chance. “Vaughn prides itself on being a drug and alcohol-free campus,” said Dr. Holder. “It’s important to instill the hard-hitting facts of the dangers associated with driving under the influence. This program is just another way Vaughn is committed to keeping its students safe.”
- Student Health Fair—This on-campus event features local doctors and vendors who present free products and screenings to students. These include offerings from eye doctors, dentists and organizations that promote safe sex practices.
Dr. Holder makes her presence known on campus throughout the year by organizing events where she distributes information on various relevant topics which include healthy relationships, confidence, depression and anxiety, and self-esteem. “It’s important that I make myself as visible as possible,” Dr. Holder said. “I want to make sure the students are reminded that I’m here for them no matter what the issue is.”
Every fall and spring semester, student veterans can work with Vaughn’s veteran liaison to ensure all their government funding is in order, and inquire about other veteran services.
In addition to the health and wellness workshops, fairs and programs throughout the year, Vaughn also has a state-of-the-art fitness center where students can work out and train year-round. The facility features cardio and weight training machines, and students can take strength and conditioning classes from Ricky McCollum, the director of athletics and head men’s basketball coach.
Words of Positivity
As a licensed clinical psychotherapist, Dr. Holder has more than 15 years of experience in the field. She says today’s students are faced with multiple stressors that can wreak havoc on their mental and physical well-being. “One of the most important things I encourage my students to do is speak positively to themselves,” said Dr. Holder. “There’s only one you. Instilling positivity gives students the boost they need to succeed.”