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Student Wellness

Helicopter parents celebrate commencement with pride and increasing expectations of their kids’ academic achievements and career preparedness. These lofty expectations are justified - given degree inflation, spiraling tuition and fees, and mounting family debt. Naturally, parents want to believe their children’s college and university experience will translate into gainful employment and career advancement.

College and university administrators, already aware of their obligations to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, (“Title IX”), are facing rapid changes and uncertainty in addressing the rights of transgender students. Though issues involving the rights of transgender students were rare as recently as a few years ago, it is likely that almost all post-secondary schools will need to accommodate the rights of transgender students in this decade.

Leslie M. Gomez is a partner in the White Collar Litigation and Investigations Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

A senior administrator recently described the issues related to sexual misconduct as a dormant volcano that lies beneath main administration buildings on campuses across the country. This is a sentiment echoed by many administrators committed to successfully responding to issues of sexual violence and harassment, but sometimes uncertain how to get there. With prevalence rates high and reporting rates low, colleges face challenges in designing and implementing effective responses. But an integrated institutional plan can help.

Students at Savannah College of Art and Design have a variety of dining styles and locations to choose from across campus.

Only one-third of 3,400 U.S. college students say they’re satisfied with their meal plans, found a survey by food industry research firm Technomic. But schools are finding that to address the problem, they need to go beyond simply improving what winds up on diners’ plates.

When Boston College leaders sent a letter to a student group in March saying its members could expect disciplinary sanctions if they distributed condoms from dorm rooms on campus, a game of sides followed. Some students, members of the media, and the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union stood by the unofficial student group, Boston College Students for Sexual Health.

Although many campuses are tobacco-free, it would be rare to find 100 percent compliance among staff, faculty, and students. There are usually a handful of smokers huddled together in a corner, puffing away.

“We try to tell people to spread the word in a respectful way, to be friendly, be positive, and not forget you’re talking to a fellow employee or student,” says Patrick Hennessey, a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for a tobacco-free campus at Westchester Community College (N.Y.). The campus’ ban took effect Sept. 1, 2012.

More than 1,130 U.S. higher ed institutions have implemented smoke-free campus policies, and the number is expected to climb, according to the organization Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. The University of California can soon be added to the list.  Starting in 2014, each of its 10 campuses will be tobacco-free, says UC, Riverside spokesperson Kris Lovekin. To promote a campus event relating to the annual Great American Smokeout this past November, student affairs staff distributed zombie-themed cards modeling an app developed by the American Cancer Society.

mental health

Before entering college, Nicole, a junior at a small liberal arts college in New England, had been getting treatment for anorexia for two years. Finding a college with adequate mental health services was one of her biggest concerns, so she was relieved when the director of counseling services at the college she selected promised her a full treatment, complete with a weekly dietician meeting and regular sessions with a psychiatrist and a therapist.

cafeteria food

Continually provide both hot and cold gluten-free and allergen-free options in dining hall food lines. Allow students to pre-order allergen-free meals. Provide a dedicated space in the main dining hall to store and prepare gluten-free and allergen-free foods and to avoid cross-contamination.

webcam doctor

At Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (Pa.), seeing a doctor is now just a click away. Using Rapid Remedy, an online service that allows students to video chat with board-certified physicians, Harrisburg students can skip unneeded office visits while saving the school money, shares Harrisburg’s President Eric Darr.