Supporting student mental health, 2 mile fun run with GVPD
Supporting student mental health, 2 mile fun run with GVPD
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Health & Wellness
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Spring/Summer Event Guide

Warm weather is upon us! Check out all the resources available to help you improve your health and wellness this summer. The Spring/Summer Event Guide showcases different programs, challenges, workshops and resources offered. This issue features Farmers Market activities, the summer group exercise schedule, the "I'm Dying to Talk With You" workshop, and more!

Success Story: Susan Strouse

Susan Strouse—an assistant professor in the Kirkhof College of Nursing—strives to be a role model for her students and others around her by actively leading a healthy lifestyle. Being a registered nurse, she has seen firsthand how not taking care of your body affects your overall health. Though she’s always been an active and healthy individual, wanting to set a good example for her students and patients alike helps to keep Susan focused on her health.

In order to maintain her physical health, running has always been a big part in Susan’s life. She participates in a local running club and was a 2007 Boston Marathon finisher. She also enjoys ‘date nights’ with her husband riding on their tandem bike. In addition to her own efforts, Susan began working with a Priority Health wellness coach three years ago to help mentor her throughout her wellness journey.

Susan’s wellness coach, Shelly, has really helped her in identifying her own goals and finding ways to achieve them. In the beginning, Susan’s goals were focused on her physical health and building upper body strength through weight lifting at her local YMCA. Overtime, her goals have shifted to be more holistic, as she has focuses on getting enough sleep and taking time for herself. Susan says, “It’s not selfish to say I’m going to bed at 10 o’clock and not answering anymore emails,” which is something Shelly helped her to realize.

During difficult times of loss in her family, Shelly has provided Susan with emotional support, too. Shelly was able to share her own experiences with loss, with both Susan and her nursing students. In a panel discussion in one of Susan’s classes, Shelly spoke about her experience with genetic abnormalities from a parent’s perspective. Through this, Susan was able to introduce Shelly to her students as her wellness coach. Shelly’s experience with genetics was impactful on the students, but it also gave Susan an opportunity to show her students that she isn’t just telling them to take care of themselves—she’s taking care of herself, too.

Having these two experiences come full circle in the classroom has helped Susan to be a strong role model for her students. In the nursing program, they focus a lot on health promotion and nurses being leaders. With this, Susan says, “How can you talk health promotion and expect your patients [and students] to do it if you’re not trying to do it yourself?” 
“We’ve been given this one body and we need to take the best care of it that we can.”

Susan’s entire family is healthy, and the importance of being active is something she tried to instill in her children at a young age by going on family bike rides and spending time outdoors. She says, “Being active doesn’t have to be something tedious or awful or something that you dread, it should be something you enjoy doing.” She enjoys running with her friends on the weekend, and finding ways to stay healthy with her family. For her, it’s a way to create memories with the people she loves. “Find something you love and find someone else who loves it and do it.”

When she feels good, Susan says she’s a better person, which spills over into all of her roles. “If my life is in balance between my spiritual, my physical and my mental, I’m in a better place, and when I’m in a better place, I can be so much more for others and for myself.” Having a positive attitude is important in being well, too. Even when things aren’t going your way, Susan says, “Your attitude is a choice. You can choose to get down on yourself, or you can choose to be thankful for what you have and make the next day better.”

For others looking to better their lifestyles, Susan recommends engaging with a wellness coach from Priority Health. She says, “Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do, have an accountability buddy, and remember the hardest part is always getting started.” 

ENCOMPASS Spring Newsletter

Do you feel that you've hit a roadblock in your exercise journey? Are you looking for new ways to stay active and healthy with your kids this summer? Check out the ENCOMPASS Spring Newsletter for tips on how to get back on track with your fiitness goals, how to get active with your family, providing care to older adults, and the value of forgiveness.

Supporting Student Mental Health at GVSU

Content retrieved from the Robert and Mary Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center "One inclusive Thing" series. To learn more visit 
Students experiencing mental health challenges are a growing concern at GVSU. Responses to the 2018 National College Health Assessment indicated the following about our students:
32% reported that stress seriously impacted their academic performance
27% were diagnosed or treated for anxiety within the last year
50% reported that academics were traumatic or very difficult to handle in the last year
64% reported they had sought/received information on depression/ anxiety
61% indicated they were interested in receiving information
23% reported having a personal health issue that was traumatic or very difficult to 
        handle in the last 12 months

Students navigating mental-health issues are more likely to have lower GPA's and less likely to persist in school. They are often hesitant to approach faculty for help for a range of reasons, namely fear of disappointing their instructor and being viewed as lazy or making excuses to get out of doing the work. Engaging in practices that promote student mental health is the responsibility of the entire campus community, including faculty.


First, be sure to model inclusive behavior at all times. Students will follow your lead! There are many ways faculty can support student mental health, below are a few proactive strategies to get started.

Create a safe and encouraging classroom environment by normalizing the presence of mental health issues on the first day of class. Clearly state that you understand stress, anxiety and depression are no different than a physical illness and you want to be as supportive as possible. Include this in a statement in the syllabus and verbalize it in class. Here is a sample statement: 

"As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, including stress, anxiety and depression. While I am not an expert, I acknowledge that mental health challenges can be a deterrent to academic success and overall quality of life. If you are in need of support, please come see me or contact the University Counseling Center. I want you to get the help you need!" 

Announce mental health-related events when offered on campus if possible, incorporate them into your course work. Attend them yourself when you can and invite students to join you.

Incorporate Inclusive Grading Policies:

Consider alternatives to class attendance/ participation points such as online activities that students can complete on their own if they cannot attend class.
  • Provide flexible dates for students to complete work such as a 2-week window to submit larger assignments
  • Drop the lowest quiz or test grade
  • Allow students to revise or resubmit one assignment in the last week of class
Want to Learn More?
University Counseling Center, 204 STU, 616-331-3266 or


Opening Day at the Farmers Market

June 5, 2019

Join us at the opening day of GVSU's Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 5th from 10am-1:30pm in Parking Lot G. This summer will be full of fresh food and fun with the Summer Grill Challenge, a 2 mile fun run/walk with GVPD, and much more!

Run with GVPD

June 19, 2019

Attention faculty and staff: Lace up your sneakers and challenge the GVPD to a 2 mile fun run/walk down Campus Drive! All GVSU faculty, staff and family members of all fitness levels are invited to participate. Grab a colleague or your whole department to join in on the fun. Proceeds for registration will go to the GVSU student support fund. Start and end at the Farmers Market, where lunch will be available afterwards for an additional charge. See details.
Register today!
1 Campus Drive 1090 James H. Zumberge Hall Allendale, MI 49401