GPSS set to hold Graduate Health and Wellness Week

Jill Alt

Graduate students juggle taking classes, teaching classes, research and sometimes families all at once.

Taking all that stress into account, Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Vivek Lawana has created a week-long event dedicated to helping graduate and professional students improve their overall wellness.

From April 9 to 13, in partnership with the Student Wellness Center, Student Affairs and the Graduate College, events will be held all week to promote mental, physical and emotional health.

“Basically, this is just appreciating our graduate students,” Lawana said.

This will be held during National Graduate Student Appreciation Week as a way to help graduate and professional students be more familiar with the resources available to them at Iowa State.

On Monday, April 9, a Yoga class led by Nora Hudson, program coordinator for recreation services, will be held in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. 

On Wednesday, April 11, Jason Huntley, graduate student in education, will hold a forum for wellness geared toward international students on campus from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Gold Room. Later in the Gold Room, Ann Doty, retirement information specialist at Iowa State, will host a discussion on the financial benefits of retirement savings from 3 to 4 p.m.

On Thursday, April 12, Jazzmine Brooks, the sexual misconduct prevention coordinator, will host a discussion about Iowa State’s new bystander intervention program, Green Dot, in Carver 0268 from 3 to 4 p.m. The program encourages bystanders to intervene in cases of sexual assault.

On Friday, April 13, in Carver 0202 “Creating Your Lifestyle: A Focus on Holistic Wellness” will take place from 9 to 10:50 a.m. This workshop is geared toward emotional and mental well-being. The event will be hosted by Kate Van Pay, graduate student in psychology.

This week is aimed toward graduate and professional students because on top of being a student, graduate students are researchers or teachers or assistants. Grad students have an elevated suicide rate, a higher rate of mental illness and statistically less free time. 

“They usually spend a lot of time researching, they aren’t social, they don’t go to the gym. Seventy percent of them feel depressed,” Lawana said. “Five percent of graduate students think of committing suicide during their years, so I wanted to do a wellness awareness campaign.”

President Wendy Wintersteen endorsed this event at the GPSS listening session on March 2, saying that this is an excellent opportunity for students to partake in.

Graduate College Assistant Dean Craig Ogilvie is part of the team that put this together.

“When someone is holistically not well, they’re not doing the best work,” Ogilvie said. “We want to make sure graduate students are as well as possible.” 

Ogilvie praised Lawana for the effort he put in to make this happen, saying “Vivek deserves most of the credit.”