Student Wellness Statement on Social Justice and Inclusion:
Student Wellness is committed to providing a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment for everyone. Our mission is to create a health promoting university which works to dismantle barriers towards achieving health equity for all students. The values of our staff reflect our respect, empathy, compassion, and celebration of all identities including, but not limited to, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religious and spiritual beliefs, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, political viewpoints, physical and mental abilities, size and appearance, and socio-economic status.
We believe that unjust disparities in health are rooted in social inequities. We recognize that power, privilege, and varying degrees of access to resources have created unjust disparities in health and well-being. Throughout history and now, different systems, structures, and practices operate to marginalize and oppress people with certain identities and backgrounds. Social determinants of health (e.g. access to education, access to care, socioeconomic conditions, availability of resources, social norms) and social forces (e.g. racism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, sexism) also work to marginalize individuals as a result of their social conditions and their identities. We recognize that ongoing experiences with marginalizing and/or oppressive systems can negatively impact well-being and student success. We strive to work with everyone in the university community to advocate for the necessary social change on campus to improve health and well-being.
We work to address barriers to health equity in various ways such as:
- creating system and practice changes in offices across campus to become more health centered,
- creating educational opportunities for students that explore connections of social identities and their health,
- advocating for health promoting policy change,
- conducting wellness needs assessments and collecting data on student’s experiences to inform strategy development and implementation,
- exploring access to health and wellness resources/services at ISU through a lens of equity, availability, affordability, and accessibility,
- educating student employees on health equity and health disparities through employee training and small group meeting discussions during the year,
- attending and promoting social justice related events across campus and within our community,
- engaging in critical self work through professional and personal development opportunities,
- participating on social justice related university/community committees and working groups, and
- continually exploring our own office’s allocation of resources.
We know that in order to reduce barriers to health equity externally, we must constantly look internally. We strive to practice cultural humility in our work with others and engage in difficult dialogues, and ongoing education. We believe that courage, respectful communication, empathy, and shared understanding provide the basis of this work and we recognize that none of us is perfect and we all have continued work to accomplish.
We invite you to engage in social justice related conversation with our staff, and to provide us feedback that you think may be important or helpful.
Adapted from Syracuse University Counseling Center – Social Justice, Our Stance