Mental health, wellness and resilience strategies were the focus of UCCS’ Feb. 25 virtual Town Hall.
Chancellor Reddy opened the session with a series of updates on planning for the fall semester, federal emergency aid for students, personnel matters and more. Following these updates, Chip Benight, director of the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, presented on the work of the Hill Institute, the impact of the pandemic on the Colorado Springs community and steps each member of campus can take to strengthen their resilience in the face of stress.
The Hill Institute provides clinical care for trauma survivors, cross-disciplinary research and community empowerment and training in the areas of resilience and trauma recovery. Based on data from the institute’s work, Benight shared the impact of the pandemic on the Colorado Springs community, from post-traumatic stress, depression, loneliness and more. In response, Benight shared critical self-care strategies to help individuals mitigate these effects – from exercise and substance reduction to creating strong work-life boundaries.
“One way to win the battle of the COVID-19 burnout experience is to realize you are in a battle,” Benight said. “And one of the most important things that we can do is create a self-care plan.”
Updates presented by the Chancellor included key takeaways. Take a look at the updates below and see Benight’s full presentation, including steps to create a self-care plan, on YouTube. Benight’s full slide deck can be found here.
- UCCS anticipates social distancing requirements to relax by the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, giving reason to expect significantly more classes and activities offered in-person and on campus in the fall. Learn more >>
- To celebrate spring 2021 graduates and the graduates of the classes of 2020, UCCS will hold a mix of virtual and in-person celebrations. The “Picture on the Plaza” event marks the first in-person commencement celebration since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more >>
- UCCS will receive nearly four million dollars in emergency federal aid from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. This funding will be used for grant monies to assist students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students with a valid 2020-21 FAFSA on file will receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid with more information. Learn more >>
- The Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center has been approved as a closed POD – or point of dispensing – site. When vaccines are available to the campus population, students, faculty and staff may choose to receive their vaccines on campus. Learn more >>
- Asymptomatic faculty and staff may schedule voluntary drive-up vaccine testing appointments at the Lane Center. Learn more >>
- UCCS is engaged in a CU system-wide review of compensation practices to comply with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2021. Learn more >>
- A new equity, diversity and inclusion task force chaired by Stephany Rose Spaulding, interim assistant vice chancellor of equity, diversity and inclusion, will advise the Chancellor and Cabinet on immediate EDI concerns. Learn more >>
Chancellor Reddy closed the session by encouraging faculty, staff and students to take Benight’s strategies and words of advice to heart.
“Please continue to practice acts of kindness, compassion and empathy, especially towards yourself,” Reddy said. “I am confident that together, we will get through anything.”
Members of the UCCS community may submit additional questions and fill out a survey response to the event.