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Wellness Wednesdays Provides Resources to Help Students Navigate through Pandemic

April 6, 2021

Cronkite launched Wellness Wednesdays to help students navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic

By Dzevida Sadikovic

Cronkite’s “Wellness Wednesdays” series has given students some additional tools to help them navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and stay strong individually and as a community.

The series, launched in September 2020 by Cronkite Assistant Dean Melanie Alvarez and Director of Student Success Mary Cook, offers support to students in such areas as mental, emotional, physical, environmental, situational and occupational wellness.

“When the pandemic hit, we realized that we needed to find other opportunities to support our students in these various parameters,” Alvarez said.

Since its inception, there have been 17 sessions that have addressed topics such as anxiety, exercise, meditation, stress, handling money, better eating on a budget, mindfulness, growth mindset, yoga, self-care for journalists and substance abuse.

The series has also sought to address the stigma surrounding mental health counseling.

“My goal was to let students know that going to counseling is not a negative thing but can help them work through tough times.”

The Wellness Wednesdays series, which partners with Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness , emphasizes that wellness can be achieved on individual and community levels.

Alvarez said Wellness Wednesdays extracurricular events give students the opportunity to meet and talk with each other about their stress, as well as to connect with resources available at ASU.

Some students posted feedback about the sessions on Cronkite Conversations. Said one student, “It taught me how important it is to allow myself to quiet my thoughts and process them, knowing that I’m not on a deadline and I can just be still.”

Cook said the most popular Wellness event during the fall semester was “Shifting to Growth Mindset” and the most popular in the spring so far has been the therapy dogs visit.

Cook said Cronkite plans to continue offering Wellness Wednesdays – even after the pandemic. She said students still face the stress of academics, job interviews, internships and story deadlines. Giving students the opportunity to build their own toolbox of resources to reduce stress would be a great benefit, she said.

“Not everybody is going to get into yoga, not everybody is going to get into mindfulness, but they are all going to breathe,” Cook said. “And by taking a minute to just sit and calm their breath would make a big difference in their day.”