DCCC Wellness Program rolls out new initiatives this semester

By Sydney Matthews

(Left to right) Corinne Repko, Emma Herman and Amber Nichols of Family and Community Services of Delaware County provide safe sex kits for students. They collaborate with the Wellness Program to bring testing services and other resources to DCCC students.
Photo by Sydney Matthews

Spring semester is in full swing and for many students that means balancing their classes with work, family lives, and their physical and mental health.

“I don’t always have enough time for myself,” said Guleen Kaur, 20, a science for health professions major. “I’m a full-time student. I have a work study and another job outside of this. On top of that, completing all my assignments on time is really stressful sometimes.”

If not managed, stress on students can affect not just academic performance, but also can lead to physical, mental and emotional ailments. Like many other college campuses across the country, DCCC is stepping up efforts to help students maintain their well-being by implementing a wellness program for students, staff and faculty.

“I’m looking to bring more mental wellness programs to the school,” said DCCC Wellness
Coordinator Austin Carroll. Since taking the position in fall 2019, Carroll has worked to connect students to health and wellness resources here on campus and out in the community.

New to Marple campus this semester is the Healthy Break Program. Professors can schedule
short blocks during their class for students to recharge and refresh themselves.

Carroll, who comes to the classrooms to guide the students in meditation, noted “exercise and stretch breaks of just 10 minutes can be very beneficial in boosting endorphins and reducing stress.”

While not a full-service health center, the Wellness Program office, located in the Student Life Center, has literature and resources for topics ranging from healthy relationships and quitting smoking to healthy eating and mental health conditions. The program is also able to connect
and refer students to free services in Delaware and Chester Counties.

The Chester County Tobacco Free Coalition, the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County and Community Services of Delaware County are all agencies Carroll works in conjunction with when referring students to resources. The agencies provide healthcare services such as counseling, screenings and food and housing services.

“If I don’t have a resource here, it is my job to branch out and research and look throughout the community to find what it is that student is looking for,” Carroll said. “Knowing what students need and being out and available is how I know which issues need to be addressed.”

In addition to connecting students to resources within the community, the Wellness Program also aims to bring services to students on campus. For the first time this past November at DCCC, free flu shots were available to students.

On Jan. 30, the Wellness program offered free STI and HIV testing at DCCC’s Marple campus.

An HIV testing kit used to screen a DCCC student on Jan. 30 that produces results in 60 seconds. The
Wellness Program brings free HIV and STI testing to Marple, Upper Darby and Southeast campuses.
Photo by Sydney Matthews

Students also could participate in a sexual health Jeopardy game and build their own safe sex kits.

“Those screenings will be out in other branches as well,” Carroll said.

“So far, I have HIV and STI testing planned at Upper Darby campus for Feb. 27 and at Southeast Center campus on Mar. 26,” Carroll added. “I’m still looking to provide resources to the other Chester County campuses. The goal is to provide as many free screenings as possible.”

More programs are expected to be rolled out this semester for students. Mindful March will focus on students mental health. In April, a Wellness Festival will be held at Marple campus.

Carroll said the festival “will bring in various community resources and include group exercise classes.”

Now, students like Kaur, who said she “would be happy to see yoga and Pilates offered on campus” have access to these resources. Such classes are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Fitness Center on Marple campus.

Brennan Busza, a 23-yearold computer science major, maintains his health by getting eight hours of sleep each night and running a daily 5k. While he was aware of counseling services offered by the school, he said he had not heard much about the Wellness Program.

“I’d like to know more about what it has to offer,” Busza said. “I really wasn’t aware of the program.”

Miranda Davies, a math and natural science major, who believes planning and
time management are important to maintaining her wellbeing, said she was glad to know
that there are yoga classes and that the Fitness Center is open to students.

“The workload of a community college student is a lot,” Davies added. “I think that a talk on maintaining our busy schedules and stress would be good for students.”

For updates on events and initiatives visit the Wellness Program office at Marple campus, Academic Building, room 1181 or visit Delagate.

Contact Sydney Matthews at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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