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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Changes made to SWA program

<lls are a Carleton institution, and even this early in the fall their question sheets are filling up. A few examples from fourth Burton: “Will you marry me?” “What is the secret of happiness?” “What is love?” “How long is TOO long?”

Although the SWA stalls, the question sheets, and the pamphlets have not changed, the SWA program as a whole has undergone a major overhaul. The most significant development for the SWAs themselves is the adoption of guidelines published by the American College Health Association, which emphasizes collaboration with academic programs, cross-cultural competence, and professionalism. In order to follow these standards, the SWAs now attend a weekly training program that follows the ACHA guidelines. According to Drew Weis, head of the SWA program, the changes were made to establish the SWAs as a more professional group.

Another major change – and one that might have an even greater impact on Carleton students — is that the number of SWAs has been cut in half, from sixteen to eight. The purpose of this, according to a Wellness Center press release, is to make the SWAs “a closer-knit group in which all SWA voices can contribute to a shared vision for the program.” By reducing the number of SWAs on campus, the Wellness Center hopes to encourage them to work more closely together and exercise more control over the student wellness program. One example of the new, student-led focus of the SWA program that the Wellness Center cites is their adoption of a new mission statement: “to promote student awareness, skills, and knowledge for balanced, lifelong wellness.”

Despite the lower number of SWAs, the Wellness Center has introduced a number of new programs this year. Every SWA is now required to hold SWAffice hours, and the SWA office in the Wellness Center has been turned into a lounge where students can discuss a wide variety of health-related topics with SWAs. SWAs will also be responsible for setting up special, hall-wide programs to teach students about subjects like STDs, stress management, exercise, sleep, and nutrition. The SWAs’ total work load is around eight hours per week, according to Karen Eash ’13, the SWA for Goodhue.

However, a SWA’s primary responsibility, said Eash, is one they have always had, and one they must carry out even when off-duty. “The most important role is being a campus leader and role model,” said Eash in an email. “We have to practice what we preach, and being a SWA is like living in a fishbowl – people are watching the decisions we make even when we don’t think they are looking.”

Note: In this article, Drew Weis was credited as being the head of the SWA program. But actually Weis shares that responsibility with Chloë Coenen as part of her Hall Director Collateral assignment. Coenen was instrumental in the transition to the new SWA program  for this year.

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