The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Bringing wellness to Wednesdays; zoom workshops available to City College

Dean of Campus Intervention Andre Coleman and his staff created Wellness Wednesdays for City College students. These workshops range from yoga, qigong, a form of martial arts, guided meditations, art, tai chi, and other workouts on Wednesdays and happen between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Photo illustration Sara Nevis/[email protected])

With City College students and faculty now at home behind the blue light of computers, some staff have taken the technology at hand and created new opportunities for students, allowing both students and faculty to connect to resources for both their physical and emotional wellness. 

Dean of Campus Intervention Andre Coleman has created one new resource, Wellness Wednesdays, a day of Zoom events for students and faculty to bridge the virtual divide.  

“People struggle in these moments, and if we don’t help them make meaning of it, in their struggle you’ll see folks act out and behave in ways that are not typical of how they would behave because their world is spinning,” Coleman said. “In my mind, if we can help them find a way to normalize their experience, help them cope and manage with things.”

Using Zoom, Coleman and his staff have created online workshops to help students and faculty. These workshops range from yoga, qigong, a form of martial arts, guided meditations, art, tai chi, and other workouts Wednesdays and happen between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

While there have been an average of about 10 to 15 people showing up at each virtual workshop, Coleman encourages others to participate by sending him an email to learn about specific workshops. Coleman said he believes that bringing together students and faculty in these workshops can give them tools to cope with their ever-changing lives. 

Most of Coleman’s usual duties revolve around equity, Title IX, which pertains to sexual misconduct, and Title V, which concerns unlawful discrimination as well as student conduct. However, once classes moved online, Coleman said that he has been focusing on the prevention aspect of his job, giving students resources to deal with issues while in quarantine.

One workshop is run by Calla Gilligan, City College’s WEAVE confidential campus advocate, who has adapted her role to be relevant and accessible to students. According to Gilligan, students find it helpful to have a space to adjust to shelter-in-place restrictions. 

“[I] just open up the space for people to kind of process their feelings on how their life has changed since the lockdown orders,” Gilligan said, “and then also just focusing on what they define and maintain healthy relationships.”

Coleman said that Gilligan’s the workshops are making an impact.

“The ones that are participating in Calla’s group workouts and meditations are just loving it,” Coleman said. “Frankly, these are important things in times of high stress. We need the ability to talk through some of our challenges with our relationships. When you’re at home with your family, setting boundaries is really important right now because everyone’s on top of everyone, and it’s easy to get frustrated.”

Gilligan said she wants students to be able to discuss important aspects about relationships, intimate or otherwise. Through this, she has found that it is important to allow participants to be involved as much or as little as they want. 

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“[I] just really leave it up to folks to engage and utilize that space for themselves. It’s not about me going in there with my agenda,” Gilligan said. “It’s about me creating a space for people to take away as much as they’d like from this topic.”

Gilligan believes that the Wednesday workshops can help increase wellness.

“We need to be taking care of ourselves because this is an incredibly stressful and traumatic situation that we’re all going through,” Gilligan said. ”So having these different offerings just means that this school is invested in their students and their staff and their well being.” 

According to Coleman, both students and staff have encountered problems related to the stress of adapting to remote instruction.

“The most pressing issue to me was that moving to this remote working environment compounded by the concerns of the virus, compounded by people having to stay in,” Coleman said. “[It] just seemed like a powder keg of potential emotional explosions. What we needed to do was to work with people to manage what [they] were feeling. And because it happened so abruptly, emotionally and mentally it didn’t give people a lot of time to prepare, and so it feels even more extreme.”

Coleman, however, said he recognizes that some students and faculty may find it difficult to prioritize emotional and physical wellness.

“It’s hard for people to take the time out of their day and to do things that they know they should do for themselves, but they just don’t,” Coleman said.

Gilligan added that they want to offer workshops that can be most helpful to participants.

“[We want to encourage] students to be involved and also to know if there’s something specific that they want to highlight or that they would love to see offered to let us know,” Gilligan said. “Again, it’s not about us and our agenda on it [Wellness Wednesdays]. We’re wanting engagement and feedback.”

Coleman explained that while life may be hectic, there is still a need for prioritizing one’s self.

“We have seven days in a week, and six of those days are whatever,” Coleman said. “They’re filled with school and stress and worry about corona and all these other things. And Wellness Wednesday is the one day that we’re asking for you to take partially for yourself. To take some time to take care of you. To find some balance in your life, to do good things for you that will recharge and replenish you.”

Wellness Wednesday’s workshops vary each week. Contact  Andre Coleman at [email protected] for the specific workshops offered. 
Calla Gilligan is available to provide confidential support to students and staff impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault or sexual harassment Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. via email, WE[email protected], and by phone, 916-568-3011.

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