Wellness is as unique to a person as a fingerprint. This is the philosophy that motivates Stephanie Hannant, assistant dean of mental health and well-being at Pitzer College, and Kristin Williams, health and wellness outreach facilitator, as they have developed Pitzer’s Strive2Thrive program for the past few years. In honor of National Wellness Month, Williams and Hannant share health tips and how Pitzer students can access self-care that is tailor-made for their needs.
“We don’t just want you to survive, we want you to thrive,” said Hannant. “Strive2Thrive looks at the whole student in a holistic manner.”
Established in 2019 with a gift from Pitzer parents Larry Raskin P’23 and Ramesh Sinaee P’23, Strive2Thrive focuses on awareness and support by engaging students in the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, occupational, social, and financial. Through Wellness Wednesdays, Williams spearheads conversations about these dimensions. Topics have included “Navigating Wellness in Covid Times,” “Mindfulness 101,” “Self-Care Planning for Seniors,” and “Seeds of Intention: Environmental Wellness.”
Williams seeks to “continue the conversations of deep, true self-care, which isn’t the same for everybody, and talk to the students about how that’s okay.”
With Strive2Thrive, Williams and Hannant like to build a relationship with each person to offer tools to find what works best for them, whether it’s an early morning walk to see the sunrise, using essential oils, or even playing with a Slinky—a favorite among Strive2Thrive’s giveaways.
“We’re giving students permission to rest,” said Hannant. “Students have lots of hats. Letting them know that it’s okay to rest and honor your body is important.”
This year, Hannant and Williams look forward to expanding Strive2Thrive through several new avenues. They have created a wellness space as a safe haven of relaxation and a place to grab self-care goodies as needed. In addition to Williams’ Wellness Wednesdays, Hannant will lead Mental Health Mondays with her Master of Social Work interns, which will culminate in Mental Illness Awareness Week in October. Finally, students are joining the Strive2Thrive team as mental health and wellness ambassadors to help run the programming and engage their peers based on their passions.
“For us, it’s so important with our background as social workers and being at Pitzer that it feels genuine and authentic,” said Hannant. “We want to do all the things but in the right way where we’re really impacting students.”
The biggest piece of advice that Williams has for students is: “It doesn’t have to be a crisis before you get help. Let’s look at a self-care plan before it becomes bigger. The wellness aspect is preventative. It’s having those conversations and building those relationships to where it doesn’t have to be boiling pot on the stove for you to say, ‘I need help.’” The conversation about wellness does not end here. Williams and Hannant will be welcoming everyone to their kickoff for Strive2Thrive’s wellness space on September 2. If you would like to support our Strive2Thrive program, click here.