Kindness, determination, bravery and hope
College is when you grow in yourself.
Prior to coming to St. Lawrence last summer, I had worked at the same facility for 24 years. So when I joined the Laurentian community in July 2021, I was a “freshman” for the first time in a very long time. Just like our freshmen do every year, I moved into my new on-campus residence, learned to get by, and started meeting new people on campus – students, faculty, and staff. .
My transition to St. Lawrence reminded me of the joys and challenges that new students face each year when they join our community. For our students, moving to campus may be the first time they are truly separated from family or high school friend groups. It can be both exciting and anxiety-provoking to have the freedom to navigate one’s identity and social relationships in a completely new environment.
Like so many other things in life, the college experience has changed in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us who were new to the Laurentian community last summer and fall (as well as those who became Laurentians in the fall of 2020), it was difficult to get to know others when masks covered their faces and that social distancing guidelines were in place to curb the spread of the virus.
While there are many stories of humans thriving in difficult circumstances throughout the pandemic, there is no doubt that many people have suffered. Psychologists like me like to say that human beings are social animals. The pandemic restrictions we have experienced across society, on college campuses, and here in St. Lawrence have undermined our basic human needs for connection and affiliation. So at St. Lawrence, we are taking steps to support the well-being of our students in the face of the many challenges they are experiencing, often exacerbated by the pandemic environment of the past two years.
In this issue of St. Lawrence magazine, you can learn more about the people and programs designed to support the holistic well-being of our students. Vice President and Dean of Student Life, Hagi Bradley, has provided leadership for our student wellness initiatives. The Office of Wellness Education and its Director, Laura Lavoie, provide students with a wide range of options to support physical and mental health. Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, works with students to ensure everyone at St. Lawrence is safe, known, respected, valued and understood. The university’s Director of Counseling Services, Tara Tent, and her colleagues at the Diana B. Torrey ’82 Health and Counseling Center have created a clinical environment where students can experience therapy in a professional, non-judgmental setting. the campus.
All of our efforts to strengthen on-campus wellness positions the University as a true partner to Saint-Laurent families, who will always be the most important part of their students’ mental health solutions.
It should be noted that St. Lawrence works with the Jed Foundation, which has a mission to build emotional health and resilience in students. In partnership with JED, we identify existing programs and establish new ones that strengthen the social bonds that help everyone thrive while developing the personal resilience to overcome life’s inevitable challenges.
As I complete my first year as President, I continue to be a proud member of the Saint-Laurent community. Thank you for being part of our network of top-ranked alumni and for your role in supporting students during their time on campus and as they venture out to leave their respective mark on the world.