A 2018 American College Health Association report revealed that over 60% of college students had “overwhelming anxiety” during the course of a year. Today, there continues to be a growing concern about the pressure college students face and the effects that stress can have on them as a result. To combat this, faculty members from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer have created a working group to cultivate well-being initiatives across campus.
In particular, Tomie Hahn, professor of arts, and Alicia Walf, senior lecturer of cognitive science, are on a mission to foster a better understanding of well-being. They are working to ensure students are equipped with a variety of techniques and methods they can use to maintain a sense of well-being throughout their lives at Rensselaer and beyond. By combining practices, such as yoga and creative writing, along with technological approaches to monitoring well-being, students are learning about different ways they can support themselves in the face of both academic and personal challenges. “Well-being is not one thing to any person and it changes over all kinds of situations and a person’s life span,” says Walf.
The project, titled “The Well-Being Toolbox: Interactive Approaches With Complementary Use of Technology,” is supported by the Teaching and Learning Collaboratory, an initiative dedicated to enhancing the educational experience of students. While the initial grant has allowed Walf and Hahn to reach a group of students, they hope their project can one day expand to impact the Rensselaer community more broadly. “Our vision is not to solely focus on students but also on staff and faculty,” says Hahn. “If we can start with students, we hope there will be a ripple effect so that eventually, we will have larger offerings across campus.”