RIT students’ voice shapes health and wellness models | March 2019
Newsletter March 2019
RIT students’ voice shapes health and wellness models
Making way to potentially positive behavioral and cultural outcomes
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) offers a unique model to address the health and wellness needs of our students. RIT’s model is unique because it engages students, faculty, and staff in the assessment of student-health behaviors as well as the creation and implementation of programs that address these needs.
In September 2017, RIT administered the ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a nationally recognized research survey that assists colleges in collecting data about students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions, to a random sample of over 6,900 RIT students. In addition to this sample, students enrolled at NTID were offered a deaf-friendly version of the NCHA known as the RIT Health Assessment (RITHA). Response rate for both assessments were 30.3% and 36% respectively—providing valuable information about the health and wellness of our students.
This data was shared with members of the Wellness Teams- 10 teams within Wellness in the Division of Student Affairs- that meet throughout the academic year to identify, develop, and implement wellness-focused programs that supplement students’ education and experiences. New teams were created to support some of the more noticeable themes that were present in the assessment results. For instance, a Self-Care Team was started due to results indicating that RIT and NTID students identified “stress” and “anxiety” were the top two factors affecting their individual academic performance within the last 12 months, and a Disease Prevention Team was created based on results suggesting that students who miss class due to illness (chronic or temporary) experience more stress, anxiety, and a presumed inability to succeed.
Another way that the area of Wellness is looking to highlight student feedback in health education and promotion is through a Peer Education program. This new program, set to begin in August of 2019 (but currently accepting applications) will allow students the opportunity to become content experts on topics such as mental health, sleep, stress, alcohol and other drug education, and sexual and relationship violence. This program will complement the work of the Wellness Teams and support an already comprehensive approach to addressing the health and wellness needs of our students. The goal of each of these opportunities is to actively engage students in the programming that will ultimately benefit themselves and their peers.