Like any romantic drama, #CACUSS2013 has been full of Passion!, this year’s annual conference theme. Befitting of Montreal, conference attendees experienced this passion in a multitude of ways. Over the course of the next three posts, the Supporting Student Success research team will share their perspective on how Passion! radiated from this year’s conference presentations and activities.
The curtains went up on the first act displaying a Passion for wellness. In collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association, CACUSS released their Post-Secondary Student Mental Health: Guide to a Systemic Approach. The press has been out in force covering the story on the launch of this much needed suite of resources, including a webinar learning series. Check out articles published in the Globe and Mail and the Ottawa Citizen. Congratulations and thank you to CACUSS and CMHA for developing a resource that will provide students and postsecondary staff and faculty with tools to address one of the most significant issues on postsecondary campuses today.
But mental wellness was only part of this act’s passion for wellness. There were several sessions on physical, sexual and emotional health and wellness, including sessions on movement (check out @MoveUofT), on-campus sexual health resources at McGill (@ShapShop) and UBC, and a research study conducted at the University of Toronto-Scarborough’s Health & Wellness Centre which examined the relationship between students’ strengths and their ability to flourish.
And while student health and wellness is important, it is difficult to support students if we are not healthy and well ourselves. This act of the play, Passion!, came to a close with a number of sessions focusing on staff and faculty members’ exercising self-care so that we can be more present and available for supporting students. There was a session titled, “ComPASSION . . . the essential fuel on the road to fulfillment” and another titled “Come Alive – Integrating Personal Passions into your Professional Role to Create an Exceptional Environment for Students.” Couple these with the session, “Get the Health Outdoors” and it was clear that taking care of oneself is necessary (albeit often overlooked) part of the supporting student success picture.
Personally, I started some of my self-care program while in Montreal. I ran to the top of Mount Royal behind McGill several times during my visit. I breathed in the crisp morning air while my lungs burned with the exertion. It was a perfect way to begin the day. I also began the daily examen, a reflective practice of reviewing the day with gratitude.
So as we move into summer—that time where we can breathe and reflect on the past year while simultaneously planning for the year to come— I invite you to share your strategies for taking care of yourself this summer: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.Please leave a comment so that we might learn from and inspire each other.
The passion for wellness was alive and well at CACUSS 2013. Check in Monday, June 24 when we share the second act of Passion! from CACUSS 2013.