RUSVM’s Student Wellness & Experience Committee – Friday Focus #2

I am excited to share the second Friday Focus where we spotlight what students at other schools are doing to deal with mental health problems in the veterinary profession and ease the burdens of their classmates.

This post comes from Caitlyn Freeny at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. See what they do at their awesome Facebook page and read more below.

Do you want to get something similar started at your school? Get in contact with Caitlyn or post your comments and questions below.

My name is Caitlyn Freeny and I am RUSVM’s Student Wellness and Experience Committee’s Liaison. RUSVM’s Student Wellness & Experience Committees (RUSVM’s SWC & SEC) began in the spring of 2015 after the creation of the National SAVMA Wellness Task Force at the SAVMA House of Delegates meeting.

The mission of the SWC & SEC is to enhance the student experience at RUSVM through initiatives promoting a culture of positivity by focusing on student professional development, mental health, wellness, and unity. In doing so, host motivational lunch lectures, plan activities through out the semester to raise awareness for mental health, student wellness, and promote a more positive culture on campus according to student needs and requests. We work closely with the Student Success Center, Counseling Center, Director of Student Experience, RUSVM Care Team, the SCAVMA Delegates, and the student body at RUSVM.

Events that have been successful have included a lot of effort from the members of the SWC, as well as trial by error! Living on a tropical island has so many benefits but also comes with a few challenges. In order to make events great, we have to plan a semester in advance to purchase the items needed especially those only available in the United States. This semester, SWC put on a Patriotic Pet Contest that included a day where we handed out otter pops. With such intense heat, it took more than 5 days to freeze the otter pops and we even had to postpone the event!

Recently, we co-hosted an event with ROSS TALK and had 3 alumni faculty and 2 students present TED talk-like presentations on overcoming obstacles here on the island. The turnout was great and the feedback was inspiring. Each semester, we hold “Stress Buster Week” the week prior to finals. We have lawn games, complementary massages, healthy snacks, and stress reducing tips and activities. Last semester we were lucky enough to host Jen Quammen and Ryan Smith from High Performance Living. They were able to give two amazing lunch presentations to our student body regarding stress management, useful tools for success, and much more. They were also able to give another lunch presentation to SCAVMA Elect Board Members and Faculty about the work-life balance.

These are only a few examples of the events that the SWC has held. We are continuously brainstorming ideas on how to maintain a culture of positivity and putting on new and exciting events. If anyone has any questions or would like to reach out to us, please email

Thought of the Week:
What do the students at your school do about the problems in veterinary medicine?

something very similar to Caitlyn!
something different than Caitlyn
??? (post in comments)


5 thoughts on “RUSVM’s Student Wellness & Experience Committee – Friday Focus #2

  1. Thank you for sharing with everyone! I’m so impressed by how involved everyone seems in doing this, based off the size of your Facebook group and participation in events. How did you get so much buy-in? How involved were the faculty in getting this initiative started and how much do they continue to support it?

    Do you notice a big difference after starting these things?


    • Hey Taylor!

      We’ve shared the page on our private Ross Students Community Page, as well as the incoming classes page. We promote our Committee through “Bladder Chatter”, events, and our weekly Student Newsletter. We’ve had a lot of help and support from faculty and staff. There truly is a Wellness Movement happening on our campus, it may be slow but it’s there none-the-less.

      It’s hard to measure the difference we’re making at this point. This committee is still very new and has a lot of work ahead. We like to hold on to those moments when one student shares their experience with us after an event or emails a professor and mentions us. I believe with time, our Committee will truly have a huge impact on the RUSVM Community.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! That seems like a lot of effort is put in, but that it pays off. How many people work on this? Is it a lot of extra work on top of required schoolwork?


        • Hi Taylor,

          We have about 24 members on our Committee. The amount of time fluctuates depending on what events we have going on. Next week we have “Stress Buster Week,” where we aim to decrease the stress students are under the week before finals. Every day we have one main event, i.e, Monday we will be offering a station for students to make their own “Stress Balls”, and then we have “Play Break Items” that are put out for the entire week (Jenga, coloring books, etc.) So we will be very busy this week and next. SAVMA Elect Board and our faculty advisors make it very clear that we are students first and student leaders second. Its important that once you take on a SAVMA role, you become efficient at delegating tasks and time-management. I meet with our faculty advisors often as well as our Student Success Center to make sure Im on track academically and to ask for help when I need.


  2. Pingback: Community | Beasts, Unburdened

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