Board of Trustees discusses new Virtua School of Health Professions name, Wellness Center goals, and the Whit Centennial

The Board of Trustees met on Sept. 13, where they announced the Salva family donation, the Whit Centennial and new Wellness Center initiatives. - Staff writer / Braijon Williams

On Sept. 13th, the Board of Trustees had their inaugural Fall semester meeting where they announced student Yuval Saar as their new alternate student trustee, introduced new programs for the Wellness Center, unveiled the Whit’s Centennial paper for Rowan’s 100 years of establishment and said goodbye to a dear friend who was a big part of the Rowan community. The Virtua School of Health Professions also announced at the meeting that they will be naming their building after Larry Salva, a Board of Trustees member who donated $1.2 million to the school.

“Rita and I are very honored to have a school at Rowan University,”  Salva said. “Especially a school that is dedicated towards medical education of health professionals that will hopefully serve South Jersey as well as other students across the university.”

The Wellness Center has implemented numerous new actions under their new theme for the academic year: “Connections” to help improve the mental health and substance abuse issues going on throughout the campus. 

All new faculty are required to take QPR training (Question, Persuade and Refer), which works on students and other people who may be experiencing “suicidality.” They also announced that they are looking to establish a task force that will allow faculty to incorporate well-being in every aspect of the university. The hope is to have that plan by the end of the academic year. 

The programs were implemented as a means to fix issues that arose in years past. Last year, 40% of students were reported to be considered on “suicide alley,”  11% of students last year reported self-injury (either reported about themselves or for a friend), and 2.3% of students had actual thoughts of committing suicide per Scott Woodside, director of the Wellness Center. With that being said, Woodside mentioned some implications and new initiatives to help lower those numbers. 

In July, the Wellness Center launched Uwill, which is an online telehealth program where you can self-select a half-hour visit with a counselor who is apart of a state initiative. 

“To date the program has had about 300 visits since July,” Woodside said. “And we’re getting about 35 new students signed on to that every week so it’s a great opportunity, it’s at their convenience and it gets us to meet students where they are.”

The Board of Trustees also paid their respects to Barbara Chamberlain, the person the Chamberlain Student Center is named after, who recently passed away. She was a Board of Trustee member that no matter where you came from or who you are, she loved and cared for you and was always a helping hand if someone needed it. Current student trustees had some touching words to say about her through his eyes.

“As a student, I never knew an individual who was so personally invested in each student’s life,” Michael Harrington, Student Board of Trustees member said. “She went to those commencements because she wanted to hear everybody’s story. She was very inspiring to me personally and she always wanted to know how my studies were going but not just me, my girlfriends, my friends and even my mom. She was just an extremely sweet woman who was always very perceptive.”

There were also multiple student matters discussed at the meeting. Yuval Saar was also appointed as the new student trustee. If you don’t know what the role of a student trustee is, Saar paints a clear picture of what it’s like in her new-found position. 

“As a student trustee we basically participate in the board fully as any other board member would but we’re getting the student perspective, so a lot of the board of trustees’ business is done within committees and we have the opportunity to go to those and voice the general students’ opinion,” Saar said. 

She chose to run for the position because she was an SGA class senator, loved talking to students and wanted to see their form of change on a greater level.

Victoria McGivern, Editor-in-Chief at The Whit, presented the Rowan Centennial Special Edition, a special project about Rowan University in its 100 years. The newspaper is filled to the brim with facts and stories that date all the way back to the beginning of 1923. The editors and writers of The Whit dedicated over 500 hours to this to give back to the school that helped them to where they are now. 

“Staff began tackling this project by combing through thousands of archives that date back to the Whit’s founding in 1938. It was a journey that took us through World War II, the racial immigration of the University, the construction of various buildings, and the abundance of accomplishments of students and faculty alike.” McGivern said. 

The newspaper was released and distributed on Sept. 14th around campus. The Board of Trustees will meet for a public retreat next month on Oct. 26, 2023, and the next Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Dec. 13, 2023.

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