Worcester State University will host its eighth annual Fresh Check Day on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Established by the Jordan Porco Foundation, the event held on campuses across the country uses peer-to-peer messaging to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health for college students and help students increase coping skills.
“The goal is to create an atmosphere of emotional wellbeing while decreasing stigma around help seeking,” said Julie Glovin, mental health outreach manager and assistant director of counseling services. “We hope that students will see that the campus cares about their emotional health and wellbeing.”
“Since 2008 there’s been an ever increasing need for emotional support for college students,” Glovin said. Since the pandemic, that need has intensified. A 2019 Healthy Minds Study showed that 76% of Worcester State students felt that emotional or mental difficulties had hurt their academic performance. A 2022 national Gallup poll showed that emotional stress has impacted college students’ ability to stay in college: nearly a third of students have considered dropping out.
Fresh Check Day has been a popular event at Worcester State. Last year, more than 300 students completed activities at eight or more booths, and more than 100 volunteered. Participants from last year’s event commented anonymously, “I love the feeling of community that this day always brings!” and “I loved it. Great experience to meet people and a comfortable environment to learn about things not many people like to talk about.” Another said, “I am much more aware of people around me and how we are not alone.” A post-event survey showed that more than 80% of the 272 respondents felt more aware of the warning signs of suicide and better prepared to help a friend exhibiting those signs, more aware of the mental health resources available on campus, and more likely to ask for help if experiencing emotional distress.
This year’s event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will feature free food from Chartwells, music from WSUR, a meet-and-greet with MK the therapeutic assistance dog, and 17 booths hosted by offices, academic departments, and student organizations. Students who complete activities at eight or more booths will be entered into a raffle to win Beats earbuds, a Kindle, or other prizes.
This year’s booths:
Boost (Recreation and Wellness): Benefits of physical exercise in managing stress
Know Your Limit (UPD and Alcohol and Drug Prevention Education): Raising awareness about drug and alcohol abuse
Rise Up (Women’s Lacrosse): Raising awareness about relationship violence
Mood Matters (Student Athlete Advisory Committee): Raising awareness about anxiety and depression while destigmatizing emotional struggles
100 Reasons (Active Minds): Students sharing reasons for living
U Belong (Intercultural Student Alliance): Providing information on risks and protective
factors for students of color
It Takes a Village (Urban Action Institute): Raising awareness and empathy for unhoused people while encouraging advocacy and volunteering as a mental health coping strategy
Be Yourself (LGBTQ+ Alliance): Information about risks and protective factors within the LGBTQ+ community
Woo-being Psychology Department: Raising awareness about Worcester State students’ self-esteem
Elephant in the Room (Delta Alpha Pi and Student Accessibility Services): Reducing stigma and increasing help seeking for individuals with disabilities including mental illness
Uplift (Enactus): Promoting self-care, wellness, and coping strategies
Paint Your Art Out (Student Senate): Coping skills such as painting, drawing, writing, journaling, and other forms of self-expression
Powerfoods (Chartwells): Exploring how food can impact mood and reduce stress
Thrive (Residence Life/RAs): Raising awareness that everyone has personal
Younique (Residence Life/RAs): Promoting positive body image and raising awareness about eating disorders on college campuses
9 out of 10 (Residence Life/RAs and Student Support Network): Mandatory booth emphasizing that everyone plays a role in suicide prevention
Meet and Treat w/MK (Counseling Services): Meeting MK the therapeutic assistance dog
This event is sponsored by Counseling Services, Active Minds, Athletics, OSILD, Recreation and Wellness, Residence Life, and Student Accessibility Services.
Beyond the Classroom
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In 1874, a castle-like building stood on Saint Ann’s Hill in Worcester. Inside its walls were the first classrooms of Worcester Normal School, a college that trained students to become teachers. . . .