USG proposes mandatory wellness course for first-year students

Members of USG set up a table on Trousdale Parkway to gather student input on a new mandatory wellness class on Monday. Photo by Cathy Liang | Daily Trojan

The Student Affairs division of Undergraduate Student Government is currently polishing a new wellness course for first-year undergraduate students that could begin as soon as fall 2018. Marina Hrovat, Director of Wellness Affairs, has been one of the instrumental forces behind this program.

“This initiative really started in response to the lack of training that we have specifically in the realms of sexual assault, bystander intervention, active shooter [training]. alcohol and substance abuse,” Hrovat said.

According to Hrovat, the course would focus on socially relevant topics like sexual health, spirituality and mindfulness, sustainability and others.

“A couple of things that we looked more intensely at was the role of mental health, the importance of self-care, nutrition, personal finance, diversity and identity, cultural competency, and there are plenty more topics that will be covered in the course,” Hrovat said.

Hrovat said the course would help incoming students become better acquainted with on-campus resources.

“One of the big gaps that we noticed is that students don’t know what the resources are on this campus, and it would be really beneficial to plug these resources in with first-year students,” Hrovat said.

The course will likely be a pass/no pass course and will ideally be taught by administrators, according to Hrovat.

“We are looking at having administrators from key offices teach the course,” Hrovat said. “For example, using Gretchen Means from the Title IX office.”

According to Hrovat, the initiative already has great administrative support and is into the late stages of its crafting.

“As of right now, we do have 14 weeks of curriculum around various topics,” Hrovat said. “We are actually looking at doing a pilot run of the program next fall with about 500 students.”

Though the course would primarily be taken by freshmen, it will be mandatory for all incoming undergraduate students, including transfers. However, Hrovat does not plan on making the course mandatory right away. Instead, it will initially be offered as an optional course.

“In terms of the pilot run that we’re going to take in the fall [of 2018] and then likely again in the spring [of 2019] before it’s fully implemented, it will be volunteer based and then a mandated course,” Hrovat said.

Ultimately, Hrovat hopes the course will create a campus environment of enhanced social awareness and active behaviors in improving the campus environment in all its aspects.

“We want the classroom time to be spent having a dynamic and didactic conversation about these topics,” Hrovat said.