L&C Selected for Equity in Mental Health on Campus Initiative
In September, in collaboration with the Steve Fund, Lewis & Clark will begin an 18-month process to improve its racial climate, policies, and practices to prioritize the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.
Lewis & Clark has been selected to join the Steve Fund’s Equity in Mental Health on Campus initiative. The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, nonprofits, researchers, mental health experts, families, and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color.
As one of a cohort of institutions, Lewis & Clark will be working with a Steve Fund team to improve our campus racial climate, policies, and practices to prioritize the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. The project will kick off in October 2022 and will run through March 2024.
The project will include:
- A needs assessment, which will include L&C-specific recommendations
- An action plan to generate ideas and develop specific, actionable, and measurable goals
- The implementation of policies, programs, and practices, developed with the support of Steve Fund experts and coaches
- Evaluation and sustainability plans to ensure continued success in the future
The Equity in Mental Health on Campus initiative was designed to address the significant inequities in mental health and the disparities faced by students of color throughout the country. In its analysis of current research, the Steve Fund has found that:
- Black students are significantly more likely than their white peers to say they tend to keep their feelings about the challenges of college to themselves.
- Students of color are significantly less likely than white students to rate their campus climate as “excellent” or “good.”
- Students of color are more likely to report feeling isolated and less likely to report feeling that their campus is inclusive than white students.
“This initiative has great potential to improve the overall experience and well-being of students of color on our campus,” says Robin Keillor, interim director of the counseling service. “We are honored and ready to learn alongside a small cohort of institutions who will join us in this Steve Fund partnership.”
As part of the initiative, Lewis & Clark has assembled a steering committee to work with the staff of the Steve Fund. Members include:
- Robin Keillor, interim director of the counseling service
- Joann Zhang, director of inclusion and multicultural engagement
- Jaime Cale, program manager, equity and inclusion office
- Sam Flores, equity, inclusion, and justice committee chair, Associated Student Body
- Christabel Leonce, outreach coordinator and psychologist
- Gina Parisi, assistant athletic trainer
- Gillian Watts, student member at-large
- Brian White, associate dean of students and director of international students and scholars
- Sweta Suryanarayan, assistant professor with term
- Isabelle DeMarte, associate professor of French
“With mental health becoming more of a central point to student success, I’m excited to work with Steve Fund on how we can learn and better support our students of color on campus,” says Joann Zhang, director of inclusion and multicultural engagement. “This is just one step toward making a more inclusive, antiracist community for us all.”