Photo by Eric Mansfield

In today’s fast-paced world, stress is a fact of life and is embedded in everything we do. We operate at a pace that only a generation ago would have been regarded as dizzying.

We realize that while learning to cope with the ever-increasing demands on our time and attention, there must be a counterbalance to these stresses.

Without it, the pressure we all place upon ourselves to do our best each and every day can be likened to the force that keeps a balloon expanding until it reaches its limit.

The result is that stress can manifest itself in mental and physical symptoms that keep us from living and working at full capacity and enjoying life.

From time to time, we all need to step back and evaluate what is really important.

With that in mind, we have established a new campuswide “wellness initiative,” an effort to align opportunities for physical, mental and emotional well-being.

This involves a greater focus on social interactions, alcohol and drug education, and sexual-violence prevention, as we strive to create a safe and healthy campus community.

A number of steps have recently been taken in this regard, such as the Campus Recreation Center’s GIT-FIT initiative and the Tobacco-Free Campus initiative.

This past fall the Mental Health Task Force and the Sexual Violence Task Force analyzed existing campus programs, services and resources currently devoted to these areas.

As a result of the task forces’ recommendations, we are taking a concerted Institute-wide approach to focus on the overall health and well-being of our entire campus community.

The first step will be to create a Center for Community Health and Well-Being under the leadership of a newly created director’s position.

Once onboard, the new director will help define the new organization, aligning people, programs and funding.

The director will have responsibility for the Campus Recreation Center, Health Services, and Health Promotion.

Health Promotion is expected to include four focus areas: Prevention Communications; Prevention Information and Policy; Prevention Training and Development; and Strategic Programs. Strategic Programs will include sexual-violence prevention, alcohol and drug prevention and mental health, as well as other focus areas to address Institute-wide priority issues.

While we already have many strong and effective programs throughout the campus that currently serve as valuable resources, these changes and this new initiative will allow us to maximize resources to provide more comprehensive programs that will facilitate the entire campus community’s well-being.

Through various venues, we will strive to keep you informed as we move forward in this effort.

Tech is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is safe and affirms the dignity, respect, and worth of our amazing students, faculty and staff.

As always, we greatly appreciate the support and partnership of the Tech community and in particular that of the many individuals who have already helped and will continue to help develop this path forward.