When I began my college search four years ago as a sophomore in high school, I only looked at small schools that I assumed would be a small community, where everybody would know everybody and it would be like a family. So, how did I end up at IU, the greatest school in the world? Well, I can’t remember if it was during a Red Carpet Day or during a tour I went on, but someone said, “You can make a big school small, but, you can’t make a small school big.” These words have traveled with me since that day and I have made IU small by joining Culture of Care.
Culture of Care is a student-led, staff-supported initiative on campus that focuses on mental health, sexual well being, respect, and drug and alcohol awareness. I have only participated in Culture of Care for two years and I am already the Director of Mental Health. Culture of Care’s mission is to create a “culture of care” on campus and encourage students to step-up when people are in need and generally, the notion that Hoosiers help other Hoosiers. Our projects include table-ing about our focus areas, collaborating with other organizations in order to work together to voice our concerns about various issues, and Culture of Care Week. This year, Culture of Care Week will be April 3 through April 7. We hope during this week, you will take advantage of our tabling activities (in order to get a free tank!) and also, that you will go to our evening events.
Culture of Care means so much to me. I went to a fairly small high school in the suburbs of Chicago and I was really involved in a lot of organizations. I wanted to find a way for me to help my large campus community and get to know a lot of people. I was first introduced to Culture of Care through the key tag of emergency numbers we pass out during orientation, Welcome Week, and move-in. I was interested in learning more about this organization that I saw on the keytags and signs in the bathrooms. So, when I noticed chalking for a Culture of Care call-out meeting, I knew I had to get involved and learn more.
Culture of Care allows me to work together with other students to discuss issues and concerns we have on campus and then try to solve these problems. Like other organizations, the IU administration is interested to know what we are doing and we are able to work closely with Dr. Lori Reesor, vice provost for student affairs, who welcomes us and other students to her weekly office hours.
IU is a big campus and sometimes it is hard to feel like you have a place in such a big university. There are times where it is nice to feel anonymous, but there are also times where you want someone to talk to you and help make IU feel like home. For me, Culture of Care became my home. I felt supported by one of the board members from last year and that is why I am in this position today. It is part of our responsibility as an organization to make you feel that IU is home.