Supporting Student Wellness: An Important Part of the College Experience

by Tobin Perry

Finding success during college relies on a variety of factors, from study time to spiritual formation. But few are more important than student wellness!

The truth is, you can study around the clock. You can make great friendships. You can partner with excellent professors who will help you take your learning to the next level. You can even land an elite internship at just the right employer—but none of that matters if your physical, mental, or spiritual health gives out before you complete your degree.

Staying Healthy on Campus Is Crucial to the Student Experience

Although it’s tough for students to anticipate the wellness challenges they’ll face in college, it’s important that their schools are committed to supporting student health and safety. According to a survey of college students in Health Psychology Open, a considerable amount of respondents rated their health as fair or poor, showing that substandard health is a pervasive issue on campuses across the country. Many of the surveyed students noted that they struggled with issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Health issues don’t just threaten to create a poor college experience; in some cases, they can lead to students dropping out of school. A 2009 study in the Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism showed a correlation between students who participate in a variety of wellness activities while at college and their grade point averages. According to the findings, students who successfully balanced different elements of health (physical, spiritual, emotional, social, etc.) had the best academic results.

How APU Supports Student Wellness

Student wellness is a core concern at Azusa Pacific University. With an emphasis on whole-person health, university leadership and staff understand that students can better embrace their calling if they’re healthy. Bill Fiala, Ph.D., dean of student wellness at APU, explained that there are a number of helpful programs and services available to students.

“Our hope is that all APU students will thrive during their college years and beyond—and we recognize that personal wellness is a key contributor to thriving as a college student,” Fiala said. “APU has dedicated significant resources to provide offices and staff that support student well-being.”

APU has developed the following resources to help students with their physical, emotional, and spiritual health:

  • Student Health Center: The health center advocates for students by promoting healthy physical, mental, and spiritual behaviors. Undergraduate students can get medical care at the health center without any copays. Graduate students can pay either $120 per semester or $30 per visit.
  • Counseling Center: Students can visit the counseling center for a variety of reasons, from learning to be more effective in building relationships to dealing with depression or anxiety. APU’s Counseling Center provides individual, couples, premarital, and group counseling services from a Christian perspective. Students can also take advantage of crisis intervention, training, and educational workshops.
  • Office of Women’s Development: Leaning on its commitment to Christian excellence, the office focuses on helping women become change agents in ministry, leadership, and gender equality. At the office, female students can find direction, encouragement, education, and connections to help them make the most of their college experience and prepare for future leadership positions.
  • Campus Safety: APU’s Department of Campus Safety works with city, county, state, and federal law enforcement authorities to keep all students, faculty, and staff safe. More than 30 APU employees (and another 50 students) are trained to help in case of an emergency.
  • APU CARES: This program provides an opportunity for parents, faculty, and friends to notify APU staff about a student in academic or emotional distress who may need support. When a concerned person refers an individual to the program, APU CARES then connects that individual to helpful university and community resources.

These offerings create a support network that any APU community member can benefit from. Fiala believes students who take advantage of these programs will be better prepared to tackle the challenges of university life.

“Students who take the time and effort to invest in their holistic well-being—physical, emotional, spiritual, and social—are more likely to reach their personal and academic potential,” Fiala said. “Our hope is that the habits students develop in their time at APU will create a strong foundation and continue to positively impact their personal, family, and work lives beyond our campus.”

Want to find out more about student wellness opportunities offered at Azusa Pacific University? Explore the Student Affairs website to find additional information.