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Haverford’s First Self-Care Week a Success

The first ever Self-Care Week at Haverford concluded last week. The Rufus M. Jones Institute for Leadership hosted Self-Care Week, in collaboration with other on-campus organizations, such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Office of Academic Resources (OAR), Women*s Center, Health Services, and JSAAPP, according to an email from Sara Leader, Graduate Assistant in Campus Life.

The Rufus M. Jones Institute for Leadership “encourages students to utilize the diverse resources on-campus, in the surrounding communities, and around the world to build the necessary skills, knowledge, and understanding to become positive change agents in our increasingly global society,” according to its website. They will be accepting applications for new board members shortly.

This is the first year that Haverford has hosted a Self-Care Week. The activities included tabling at the DC, yoga sessions, and discussions about mental health and alcohol, ableism, and finding balance, among others. The week also featured conversations and guided meditation sessions with Jon Kabat-Zinn ’64.

According to Maria Bojorquez-Gomez ’16, who works at the OMA and is the liaison to the Rufus M. Jones Institute for Leadership, Self-Care Week grew out of a conversation about mental health on campus and was a response to initiatives by other organizations, such as Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies at the OAR.

“Mental health is starting to be discussed on campus, more so this semester than before. We decided to tie these events together under the umbrella of Self-Care Week,” said Bojorquez-Gomez.

Bojorquez-Gomez offered a few explanations for the increased awareness of mental health issues. First, there has been more discussion about CAPS and the effectiveness of mental health resources on campus, including a Clerk article published last month. In addition, there are new student-run groups dedicated to mental-health issues, such as Haverminds. Bojorquez-Gomez added that there have been more events related to student activism recently, such as the Trauma 101 workshop.

“I see [Self-Care Week] as part of the rising wave towards further discussions on this issue that has been kind of ignored or not touched on as deeply as it should be, particularly considering what a stressful academic and social environment Haverford can be at times,” said Bojorquez-Gomez.

The keynote event of Self-Care week was Jon Kabat-Zinn’s talk on Tuesday.  Kabat-Zinn commented on mental health across college campuses and observed that many colleges are beginning to discuss mindfulness as a way to manage stress.

“It’s absolutely essential to drop in on being,” said Kabat-Zinn.

self care ellen

Photo by Tania Ortega ’19

Bojorquez-Gomez hopes that Self-Care Week becomes an annual event, and Rufus members are considering ways to make it more comprehensive. If they hold a similar event next year, Rufus members may discuss issues such as overeating, drugs and alcohol, and other “negative” forms of self-care.
In doing so, they hope to “acknowledge those realities, address them, and provide the alternatives we were presenting this year of mindfulness, yoga, and such activities,” said Bojorquez-Gomez.

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