September 2020
Lovin’ that Minivan

The thing is, I never really thought of myself as a roof rack or minivan kind of a gal. I had always pictured myself more as a sporty convertible owner. However, many years ago, when my daughters were about three years old, that changed. I’m telling you about this today, 20 years later, because some of my colleagues were recently laughing at me because they found out I still...happily! a minivan.

It didn’t take me long after my daughters were born to realize that, whether we were traveling to the grocery store or taking family vacations, Amme and Emma needed stuff. Not some stuff. A lot of stuff. And that precipitated my sudden interest in vehicles with roof racks and especially minivans with roof racks. 

This wasn’t just about the stuff. It was also about maintaining peace in the family. I learned the value of this early! My dad always drove a vehicle that had a roof rack. It’s not that we always used the roof rack for its intended purpose. Sometimes, it just served as encouragement to us kids. Dad said it would make a comfy seat for the most annoying child. (To clarify, the most annoying child award typically went to my older brother or my younger sister. Trust me.)

Even though my children are now adults, living on their own and driving their own vehicles (no roof racks), there are times when their independence terrifies me. Can I trust that they are being safe?... and making responsible decisions?... and changing the oil every 3,000-5,000 miles in their cars? What if they need me and I’m not able to get to them right away? What if they need me and they don’t let me know? And do they have all the stuff they need? 

They are no longer dependent on me to get them around, but when they do need to move, I’m still equipped--minivan to the rescue! 

Our lives have changed so dramatically in the last six months, but some things never change. Our students come to ISU with stuff. Some of their stuff is material (computers, TVs, books). Some of their stuff is personal (values, family dynamics, emotions). They have parents who worry about them and their well being. 

And our job is to help our students get wherever they’re going. 

We have a lot of new stuff in the vehicle this year--worries about Covid, face coverings, and plexiglass, endless hours on Zoom and more--but our responsibility hasn’t changed. It’s still our job to help our students find the room they need to feel comfortable, experience their ride in this “vehicle” in a positive way, and make the trip safely to their (graduation) destinations. 

Let’s do that. Let’s take the time to get to know our students...and their stuff! Let’s learn their names, hear about what matters to them, and do everything we can to make this one of the best drives of their lives!

September Spotlight: Counseling and Testing

The Counseling and Testing Service (CATS) has long engaged students who are struggling with mental health issues. In the last six months, recognizing the loss of connection many students have experienced because of the Covid-19 constraints, CATS not only continued to provide compassionate individual and group therapy, but also increased opportunities for students to connect with and support one another. We transitioned to the immediate delivery of telehealth services for individual counseling sessions. We also moved our CATS Connections groups online and launched a series of drop-in support groups to allow students opportunities to learn coping skills and engage with others. 

Students have responded well. Over the summer we saw an 86% increase over the previous summer in the number of counseling sessions. Moreover, students have been expressing their appreciation for the flexibility to participate in their sessions from many different locations. 

Our human connections are critical to the prevention of mental health struggles as well as for recovery from them. CATS is offering multiple opportunities this fall for students to connect and obtain help. In addition, we are conducting more training to help faculty and staff learn ways to support our students who may be in need of our services. 

The Weekly Virtual Wellness Workshops offer a wonderful array of wellness topics for students to select from and explore with their peers.

CATS Connections groups allow students an opportunity to connect with students who share some of their experiences. There is also a parenting group that faculty and staff can join.

The weekly Mindfulness Meditation drop-in meetings are open to all students, faculty, and staff who are looking for a way to reset and refocus.

RESPOND training helps students, faculty, and staff learn how to recognize students in distress and assist them.

Talk Saves Lives Suicide Prevention Training (TSL) teaches students, faculty, and staff how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and respond in order to obtain help and save a life.

The Coping with Suicide Loss workshop, which is open to all, provides support for those coping with this profound loss.
Student Activities Board Bengal Wednesday
September 2, 11:30 a.m.

Upcoming Training Dates
All Trainings Online through Zoom
Thur, Sept 3 @ 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Fri, Sept 11 @ 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.

Wed, Sept 16 @ 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Fri, Sept 25 @ 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.  
For questions or to schedule a Talk Saves Lives for your department or group, please contact Susan MaComb at [email protected]
Student Affairs |