Mason Launches Well-Being Initiative

This story was originally published in the Nov. 17 issue of Fourth Estate.

Blanca Acevedo, staff writer

Mason is building programs and initiatives around student and employee well-being.

In 2014, President Cabrera devised Mason’s Strategic Plan, which includes Goal #7: “Create a model well-being university that allows all of its members to thrive.”

This brings compensation of faculty, staff and graduate assistants to competitive levels.

“The president asked us–The Center for the Advancement of Well-Being– to become Mason’s central location for the Well-Being University Initiative,” Penny Gilchrist, director of communications from the Center said.

In addition, Nance Lucas, executive director of the center said, “the idea is to implement knowledge and good practices that assist students to find greater meaning of their lives, and to enforce personal and academic strengths within that process.”

The initiative hopes to expand knowledge and understanding of health and welfare. The aim is to promote well-being and personal satisfaction in all aspects of life, physical, career, social, community, psychological and financial.

“We want to promote: Thriving Together—building a life of vitality, purpose, and resilience,” Gilchrist said. “We are sending students out into the world with the knowledge and resources to become successful and flourishing individuals. Our students will become global citizens who make a difference.”

Projects that contribute to this new initiative is the Strengths Academy, inviting every student, faculty and staff member to take the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment.

Gallup provides information about how to use one’s top five strengths to live a life of well-being. The university also hosts the Leading to Well-being Conference yearly and the Spring into Well Being Day..

“This event kicks off with Hillel’s Good Deeds Day, which our center is helping to sponsor,” Gilchrist said. “For Spring into Well-Being, we invite the Mason community to either create activities, or co-promote already-scheduled activities that fall within the Spring into Well-Being calendar. Our goal is to raise awareness–on campus and beyond–about the many well-being-related spring activities that take place on Mason’s campuses.”

The goal of the initiative is to intertwine well-being into all aspects of university life.

Within Mason’s well-being university, our academic units, student organizations, and offices are committed to enhancing well-being for the entire Mason community. All of University Life’s offices, including Counseling and Psychological Services, are dedicated to this initiative. Many other academic units are including classes, which also reflect the initiative.

With this newfound initiative, the university can expand student’s learning beyond and throughout the classroom experience.

The Center for the Advancement of Well-Being hopes that the model used at Mason will encourage other universities to follow suit, inspiring their own students to achieve well-being.

Photo by Amy Rose