It’s pretty common to have a time when you wish you could talk about a campus-related concern with someone who is neutral, can help you get some perspective, and can help you generate and weigh a range of options. The Ombuds Office is a confidential and informal place where you voluntarily can do just that, whether you’re faculty, student, staff, or parent. When you talk to the Ombuds about a situation, you’re not putting the College on notice, and the ombuds isn’t authorized to conduct investigations. But you will get ideas about the options you might try for your particular situation.
In providing ombuds services, we don’t take sides in a situation. The ombudsperson you work with is committed to supporting fair process and open communication, and advocates for that rather than the specific people involved.
As you may not have tried a service such as this before, it’s natural that you might feel a little nervous before you call to set up an appointment. Call us anyway, and give yourself the chance to collaborate on something you just haven’t been able to work through effectively on your own.
Could Forest Bathing Help?
In August 2017 I offered a workshop on shinrin-yoku, or what you may have seen called forest bathing. No personal washing is required as this practice most associated with Japan is about soaking in the essence of trees from short times spent in a forest. There are a lot of data that demonstrate significant health benefits following immersion from a short walk in the woods. I’ve been asked to repeat this workshop, so keep an eye out for a repeat this fall. Want some reading? Try The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by Florence Williams (2017).
Ombudsperson Valerie White was honored in November 2016 when a major ombuds organization, California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, named their annual Service Excellence Award after her. The same organization recognized her contributions to the field and their organization in 2015 when they conferred their highest award, the Pete Small Award.