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Capital Campaign May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Wellness at UC San Diego: Keeping Our Students Healthy


From left, Vice Chancellor Penny Rue; Jerry Phelps, acting director of the Wellness Center; Torrey Trust, Marshall 09, wellness coordinator; and Karen Calfas, Ph.D. 90.

UC San Diego is internationally renowned for its interdisciplinary approach to science and medicine. Now, the University is applying the same principles of collaboration to make an impact in another campus area—student wellness.
To ensure that students thrive, UC San Diego has launched the Student Wellness Initiative. Nation­wide, college students are at risk for health-related problems including stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol overuse and other life-management issues. Our Student Wellness Initia­tive is designed to address students’ physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs with an integrative and preventive approach.

Under the leadership of newly appointed Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Wellness Karen Calfas, Ph.D. ’90, the initiative consolidates campus health and support services including Recreation, Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Sexual Assault Resource Center and the Well­ness Center. An innovative wellness outreach effort, LiveWell UC San Diego, is also underway to foster a healthy learning environment on campus. The program works with areas across campus including the Alumni Association, Housing and Dining, Financial Aid and Student Life to meet the wellness needs of the entire University community.

According to a recent survey at UC San Diego, only 15 percent of students get enough sleep each night, 70 percent report feeling lonely and 33 percent say that stress is an impediment to their success. “UC San Diego is academically rigorous and our students have high standards of success,” says Calfas. “Since this can translate into elevated stress levels, we help students to take care of themselves and their wellbeing, which in turn helps them to perform well academically, and will benefit them long after graduation.”

From yoga and fitness groups to nutritional advice and psychological counseling, the Student Wellness Initiative provides a wealth of options to help students manage stress and maintain balanced lifestyles.

Construction of a comprehensive Wellness Center on campus is also planned. When completed, the facility will house UC San Diego’s student wellness services under one roof. To do so, the University must raise an estimated $40 million—an effort in which private support will play a key role. While the current economy has caused delays, University leaders are eager to get the proposed center off the ground. Adds Calfas: “These are the times when, in many ways, there is the greatest need for wellness and support services for our students.”

For more information on Student Wellness, please visit wellness.ucsd.edu. To help support the initiative, please call (858) 822-1536 or email kspaar@ucsd.edu.



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