Fuse

Here's something to digest. "A 2019 survey found 60% of young people nationwide feel anxious about the future and yearn for control over their lives." And that was before anyone had heard of Covid, pandemics, shutdowns,

Now, the easy thing to say is, well, that's normal for young people. They'll grow out of it. But Western Michigan University didn't do that. The school, instead, chose to put a program together, the first one from a major university in the state, to deal with those anxieties, espcially now, exacerbated by distance learning and the isolation that comes with it.

In a release today, WMU says "Focused on well-being--emotional and physical, career and academic--YOU at Western gives students the tools they need to craft their own success story."

"It's such a comprehensive approach that really focuses on the holistic student experience. We think about college being an opportunity for students to find their purpose. When you find that career, that passion, that discipline that gets you excited, it makes a huge difference in your motivation in terms of how you focus your energy." - Dr. Diane Anderson, WMU vice president for student affairs

So the platform WMU put together queries students to find out what they think their strengths and areas for growth are in three categories: They are named

  • Succeed: Focused on academics and career success
  • Thrive: Focused on physical and mental health
  • Matter: Focused on identifying purpose and establishing community and social connections

After the student creates this profile, the "platform" serves up advice, campus and community resources, and training recommendations specific to their needs.

The reaction?

"I got to explore different resources for students on campus as well as tools for how to cope with stress and anxiety. If I was lacking in a specific area, the Reality Checks gave me articles that I could read on how to grow in those areas." -  Topher Verhil.

Now, for former students and alumni, this may sound familiar, as in, what a school counselor would be able to provide. But we are talking about "the twenties",  where computers and algorithms have replaced humans, but in a practical sense with a school as big as Western, and especially under the financial crunch it's under now, this may be the perfect solution. But there still that lack of a human contact. Most of the press release announcing this keeps mentioning devices, and not humans. Maybe there's an app for isolation.

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