June 8, 2020
A Work in Progress: Finding Purpose, Hope, & Community

We all hold different identities - we’re family members, friends, colleagues, mentors….the list goes on. In the past few months, those identities may have been shaken. Are we still “good” family members if we can’t visit our loved ones in person? Still a good friend if there aren’t group gatherings? What if our work has changed... or one has lost their job? Finding meaning - or better yet purpose - when the world has shaken is challenging. And perhaps the dust has settled a bit. The phrase “new normal” has become, well, normal. Although it’s not how many of us saw the world going… it’s given us an opportunity to expand.

Maybe this pandemic has given us the opportunity to reconnect with family via Zoom, or spend more time with those who live in our households. Perhaps it forced our communities to get creative on how to safely spend time together. Maybe it’s a chance to explore other career options that were not previously considered. It’s an opportunity to accept and appreciate that purpose can change over time - it’s a sign of growing and learning.

But now we find ourselves experiencing another pandemic - one of systemic racism and inequality. And alas, we find ourselves yet again, presented with opportunity. Opportunity for people of color to have their voices amplified and raised up and for those with privilege an opportunity to change silence into action. Opportunity to focus on listening and learning. And although we recognize that change is hard and requires work, we also remember that as members of an institution committed to celebrating difference and continued learning, we can do more.

So we ask you - as you can, take some time to write down and reflect on the things that you value. We all have those moments where we’re not sure why we’re here - read that list and reflect on why. If it’s difficult to find things to write about, that’s ok. Give yourself grace and practice being kind to yourself and others. The rest will come.

Now is the time to come together as a community. To step into the uncomfortable and take actionable steps towards change. Socrates once wrote, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. In this special edition of the Rowan Thrive Newsletter we wanted to solely highlight the immediate steps our community is taking to further these conversations as our journey - both as individuals and a shared community - of finding purpose and hope are just beginning.

We hope you take these steps with us and continue for the long road that lies ahead.

Be well,
An excerpt from the June 3rd statement on behalf of the Wellness Center:
“As the Rowan University Wellness Center, the health and wellness of our whole community is at the center of our mission. We are deeply saddened and angered by the recent deaths that have exposed yet again, the profound inequities lived every day by Black Americans. Understanding the historical contexts that have brought us here ranging from slavery, Jim Crow Laws, the Civil Rights Movement, and the countless experiences of segregation, we are with you. We are frustrated that your voices are often not heard, and your stories are often not told. The names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and the lives of so many other Black people across the globe who have fallen victim to police brutality and other forms of violence must never be forgotten, and this conversation about equity must not end. We stand with you to keep this conversation alive. We stand in solidarity with you and we are ready to support you. Black Lives do matter!” Read the rest of our statement here.

The Rowan University Wellness Center continue to be open and accessible. All of our services are offered in a variety of capacities. Counseling and Student Health are available via telehealth, and Healthy Campus Initiatives and the Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program are programming virtually. EMS is on campus and always available.

Take time to decompress. Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor. Get fresh air. We can’t help others unless we take care of ourselves.
June is PRIDE month. Join the upcoming Safe Zone Training training hosted by the LGBTQIA+ Center in the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution. This program is designed to specifically support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/question, intersex, and agender/asexual community members. Safe Zones serve as a visual representation to all that the person or office displaying the symbol is understanding, supportive, and a resource for LGBTQ-identifying people and allies seeking help, advice, or just someone they can talk to. The symbol also means that homophobic and heterosexist comments and actions will not be tolerated in the space and will be addressed in an educational manner.

Zoom/WebEx links will be sent to all who RSVP using the following forms:
Strive to Thrive is a newsletter for the Rowan University community. Visit rowan.edu/thrive or contact rowanthrive@rowan.edu for more information.