Starting later this month, the college will be bringing on Alissa Vreeland as its new Student Wellness and Support Coordinator. This “reimagined position” was previously known as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program Assistant, according to an email from Dean of Students Paul McLoughlin II which was sent out to the faculty announcing the hire.
Vreeland said has been interested in wellness for many years, writing for The Huffington Post about it and conducting her own informal research on the topic.
“My masters [degree] was in counseling, and the way that the counseling program was structured was a very holistic approach, so I think that sparked an interest in me to look at mental health as more of a wellness paradigm,” Vreeland said.
Vreeland plans to work closely with the Lafayette Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (LDAPAs) to help them advise students on wellness in a broader sense.
“I’d definitely like to meet with them right in the beginning and see where they’re at, how they view wellness and see what we could do with that organization to make it wellness-focused, but also keep the drug and alcohol piece,” said Vreeland of the LDAPAs.
Vreeland said she hopes to get to know students from all around campus as soon as she assumes her role.
“My goal in my first couple of months is to really meet as many students as possible,” Vreeland said.
McLoughlin’s email to the faculty described what Vreeland will be doing at the college.
“The Student Wellness and Support Coordinator will develop new programs and combine existing initiatives in ways that encourage students to think critically about responsible decision-making and taking meaningful action to increase positive, healthy behaviors,” McLoughlin wrote. “Alissa will develop, implement, and assess programs related to leading health and wellness indicators as described in the Healthy Campus 2020 initiative, with an emphasis on prevention and lifelong learning.”
Looking forward, McLoughlin said he hopes to create more awareness about the impact that general wellness can have on the holistic student, partly in response to the increase in demand at the counseling center. He said that Vreeland was hired to help accomplish this goal.
“Mental health is a really interesting topic for a Dean of Students to think about, and it’s partly why I shared with others my desire to create a student wellness position in order to move into the proactive preventative space rather than stay in a reactive space,” McLoughlin said.
William Gordon ’17 contributed reporting.