Director of BWell Tanya Purdy and Associate Director of Response Services Alana Sacks from BWell Health Promotion presented to Undergraduate Council of Students general body members at the Council’s meeting Wednesday evening.
The presentation was geared towards informing Council members about BWell’s activities on-campus, according to UCS President Summer Dai ’22.
According to its mission statement, “BWell supports the development of skills for lifelong, holistic health and wellbeing for all Brown students … to empower growth and the ability to thrive, prevent health disparities and respond to emergent needs.”
“We don’t do things to people … We don’t do things for people … We’re going to work (with people),” Sacks said.
According to the presentation, for the 2020-2021 academic year, which was mainly virtual, BWell held 394 individual appointments and 141 programs that reached 4,728 participants. So far this academic year, there were 342 individual appointments and 137 programs, reaching 5,483 participants.
BWell orients its work around a social ecological model, which considers the impact of society, communities, interpersonal connections and intrapersonal connections, according to the presentation slides.
Some examples of BWell’s offerings that would address public issues are “amnesty in (alcohol and other drugs) procedures” and the “Hazing Prevention Coalition,” according to the slides.
BWell also offers five peer education programs, workshop materials for student leaders, health empowerment resources by mail and for pick up on campus, confidential individual appointments, a 24/7 sexual assault response line and texting services.
There are over 900 subscribers for BWell’s Wellness Texts service, which sends out health and wellness information and “weekly affirmations,” according to Purdy and Sacks.
Moving forward, BWell hopes to separate “response work from its empowerment and prevention (to) create a more manageable workload and increase the attention dedicated to each area,” according to the presentation slides.
Some steps the organization has taken to achieve this goal include hiring Public Health Fellows starting this semester and creating the Associate Director of Response Services position, which Sacks serves as right now.
While BWell is “a little short-staffed,” according to Sacks, it is still committed to making sure “no students experience a gap in the response services.”
Also at the meeting, UCS-UFB Liaison Johann Dizon ’24 gave updates on UFB policy changes. Going forward, club retreats will generally not receive funding from UFB and salaries for student photographers at performance and art events will be evaluated on an individual basis. These salaries may be standardized at a later date, he added.
UFB also hopes to create a new system to manage its meetings in hopes of reducing the amount of time that student groups in attendance spend waiting for their turn to present, Dizon said.
Dai ’22 also announced that Richard Shen ’23 won the election for UFB at-large representative that was held last week.
Kathy Wang is a senior staff writer who covers the University's Undergraduate Council of Students and Undergraduate Finance Board. She is a sophomore from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature.