Diplomatic Congress’ discussion highlights importance of well-being, nutrition

By Steven Viera || Senior Editor

Last Tuesday, Nov. 3, F&M’s Diplomatic Congress (DipCon) hosted a forum in the Great Room of Bonchek College House entitled “Well Being of the Whole: Mindfulness, Mental Health, and Nutrition.” According to the event’s description online, the forum was intended to allow students to discuss their views with members of the College’s administration and to learn about the various resources available on campus as they relate to stress, counseling, nutrition, and more.

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“The school’s new insurance policy has created some confusion about has access to counseling services has changed, so we knew we needed to address mental health,” said Grace Brown ’15, chair of DipCon’s Student Health and Safety Committee . “Mindfulness is important for all students, not just those seeking counseling, and we added nutrition because we recognized that well-being is about physical as well as mental health.”

The forum was structured as an open discussion in which five panelists gave a statement before turning the floor over to students for questions and comments. The panel consisted of Margaret Hazlett, dean of the College; Beth Proffitt, dean of Bonchek College House; Reverend Susan Minasian, College chaplain; Jan Masland, Title IX coordinator; and Carol Spicher, College nutritionist.

“I contacted potential panelists who would be able to provide different views and advice for students,” Brown said. She elaborated, pointing out that she chose Proffitt to promote College House Deans as an underutilized resource for students, Minasian for her position on a Campus Mindfulness Group and her suggestions to prevent buildups of stress, Masland for large role in student health and wellness, and Spicher for her ability to speak about nutrition services on
campus.

“We hoped to have diverse panelists who could speak about various parts of campus life, which we succeeded in doing,” Brown said. “I hope that they were able to teach everyone in attendance about all the different resources our campus offers.”

After each panelist spoke on matters relating to health and wellness at F&M, students had the opportunity to voice questions and concerns.

“Much of the conversation centered around mindfulness,” Brown said. “Students and [faculty and professional staff] in attendance offered advice to attendees such as taking a walk, going to the free yoga classes on campus, and finding a support system. I was pleasantly surprised by the discussion on academic advising and the suggestions that academic advisors should offer more emotional support, not just academic support. There was also some concerns regarding the first year meal plan and whether or not it provides a sufficient amount of meal swipes for students to make it through the semester. And, of course, we discussed F&M’s new partnership with [Lancaster General Health] and what that means for students accessing physical and mental health services on campus,” Brown said.

In the wake of the forum on Nov. 3, DipCon will be hosting a debriefing session this Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 11:30 p.m. in the Great Room of Bonchek College House. Brown encouraged all
students to attend.

“Now that we have heard about student concerns, we will use this time to make plans and brainstorm things we can do to improve well- being at F&M,” she said.

Senior Steven Viera is the Senior Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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