Fall 2021 is a semester unlike any other. After the pandemic closing of campus and the shift to online courses, students will soon return to in-person classes in greater numbers than last year. And, under the banner of the StudyWell campaign, a host of VCU faculty and staff are standing ready to support students in their return to campus life.
“We’re attuned and aware that many students will be eager to return to a robust campus experience, but may also be experiencing a significant post-pandemic transition,” says Laura Gariepy, Ph.D., the associate dean of the libraries who oversees Cabell Library’s service points, spaces and teaching. “Our library buildings are hubs of academic work. They are also social centers where people meet, work on joint projects, gather for coffee and conversation.”
“With our partners in the Division of Student Affairs and the Division for Student Success, we’re creating a messaging and events campaign to support students not only academically, but more holistically, too. We’re excited to focus on mental, emotional, social, financial and physical health — all prerequisites to successful learning. We felt this was especially important in a year where so many students have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and our national struggles with racism and racial inequality.”
“RecWell’s mission is to support student success and an essential part of that is learning to prioritize activities that support holistic well-being, such as taking a break to meditate, stretch, play a game, or connect with others,” says Meredith Hawkins, interim director for recreation and well-being. “This campaign is an opportunity to provide simple, sustainable strategies that enable students to find balance and support both their academic and well-being needs.”
StudyWell brings together VCU Libraries, the Division of Student Affairs and Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success. Together these units see student success broadly and includes these elements:
According to Sue Robinson, who directs communication for the libraries, the messaging on digital screens and posters throughout campus will be positive and reinforce smart choices. “Our goal is to empower students to choose healthy behaviors and adopt smart study habits. Underlying the campaign concept is the idea of ‘you’ve got this, and we’re here for you.’”
A slate of StudyWell events and experiences will be held in library buildings on the MCV and Monroe Park campuses and in the Health and Wellness Library located in the hospital, as well as other outdoor locations.
Upcoming events and experiences can be found at go.vcu.edu/studywell
Events include library tours and orientations designed to give students a headstart on the semester. Other planned sessions include these: