By Heather Fabritze
Student Life Editor
Wellness Advocacy Coaches at Washington College, or WAC-squared, created initiatives to promote a better wellbeing for WC students this semester.
The first of these initiatives, their Wednesday Wellness Walks, started on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Students met by the George Washington statue outside Hodson Hall at 2:30 p.m. to depart for a walk around campus. The walks last for around 30 to 45 minutes.
On these walks, Wellness Advocacy Coaches join to discuss any problems that are occurring in the lives of the participants.
According to the WC website, WAC-squared is a “peer to peer support resource” with additional mental health first aid and problem management training. The program ensures that WC students feel safe in their own environment and, if not, provide resources to assist them.
Wellness Advocacy Coach junior Dori Mcmenamin encourages students to use the program considering the academic and social stressors of college.
“College can be so lonely and our Wellness Advocacy Program is so important to provide a listening ear to validate your emotions and help with your problems,” Mcmenamin said.
A large draw of the Wellness Walks is the opportunity to discuss significant issues in one’s life with unbiased peers.
This especially includes classmates who are well-versed in the campus and town community.
“Get yourself moving, talk to some friendly students who are familiar with campus and town, take a break from classes, ask about campus resources, [and] meet new people,” said an email from WAC-squared addressed to the student body.
According to Mcmenamin, students can talk about any topic that they would like – social pressures, help with approaching difficult conversations, grief, roommate issues, help with finding campus resources, study tips, and so much more.
Wellness Advocacy Coach sophomore Karli Oates emphasizes the flexible nature of the walks.
“We need to be able to talk about how we’re feeling so other people can empathize and sense how you’re feeling and your situation,” Oates said. “These walks can be positive and uplifting or they can be serious and focused on a certain topic. We just want to get to decide what they want to discuss with us so they feel safe and comfortable with us. And we will adjust in any way they would like so we can help them to the best of our abilities.”
In the future, the coaches hope to expand the extent of the Wellness Walk program. Different themes throughout the semester are planned, including sunset walks and walks that double as landmark tours.
The walks may become a weekly occurrence if there is a notable turnout.
In addition, there are plans to move the current WAC-squared office from the Student Engagement Suite in Hodson Hall to the counseling office. Once they have their own space, drop-in hours should begin in early October.
Oates recommend that students follow their Instagram, @washcoll_counseling if they are interested in the program.
In the future, the Wellness Advocacy Coaches hope to start Therapeutic Thursdays, which would include mindfulness activities like yoga and coloring.
Photo courtesy of Heather Fabritze
Photo Caption: The Wellness Advocacy Coaches hold an office in the Student Engagement Suite until early October”