Seasonal stress: How to help campus community members

SMU students walking outside a residence hall, fall colors

As SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons for Fall 2017, the Office of the Provost is asking that all University community members look out for signs of stress among campus community members.

The weeks from Thanksgiving to the end of finals are “a time of significant stress for many members of our community,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall in an e-mail message dated Nov. 13, 2017. “We ask each of you to be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you. In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first round of final exams.”

In addition, Currall urged students “who feel the stress of the season and finals” to visit the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and make use of the many health resources available to them.

Currall also urged faculty and staff members to become familiar with SMU’s Caring Community Connections page: “This website allows us to convey our concerns about students so that the University’s support staff are able to provide students with appropriate information, caring, and advice.”

If you have concerns about students and are not sure what to do, please refer to the Student Affairs brochure “Concerned About an SMU Student?” or contact the Dean of Student Life Office at 214-768-4564.

In addition, these SMU offices can help, either with advice or referrals:

  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277
  • Dean of Student Life Office, 214-768-4564
  • Office of the Chaplain, 214-768-4502
  • SMU Police Department, 214-768-3388

Physical exercise is often a good antidote to stress, Currall added, “and SMU is fortunate to have the extraordinary resources of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports available for faculty, students, and staff. Please take advantage of these facilities even during these busy times.”

Currall ended his message by encouraging the SMU community to take care of each other. “If you have the opportunity, I urge you to reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends during this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill of your family and friends,” he wrote.

2017-11-21T15:19:30+00:00 November 21, 2017|Health and Safety, News|

Free flu shots available at shot clinics and Health Center

Stock photo of man receiving shotThe Dr. Bob Smith Health Center has announced its schedule of free flu shot clinics for September-November 2017, with the first session set for Tuesday, Sept. 19 in the lobby of Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

Clinics will take place at various locations around the main campus, as well as the East Campus and SMU-in-Plano. All clinics are open to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, SMU retirees and retiree spouses.

Free inoculation also are available at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on a walk-in basis.

> Flu information at smu.edu/flu

  • Tuesday, Sept. 19 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Wednesday, Sept. 20 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Thursday, Oct. 5 – 2-6 p.m., Law School Pit, Underwood Law Library
  • Monday, Oct. 9 – 1-4 p.m., Loyd All-Sports Center
  • Tuesday, Oct. 17 – 1:30-3:30 p.m., Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Thursday, Oct. 26 (HR Fair) – 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1 – 3-6 p.m., Building 3, SMU-in-Plano

> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at dallascounty.org

To keep the clinic visit as short as possible, students should take these steps:

> Find statewide resources at TexasFlu.org

2017-09-14T16:02:05+00:00 September 14, 2017|Health and Safety, News|

How to help: Disaster relief guidance from SMU’s CEL Center

SMU’s Community Engagement & Leadership Center provided the following information to students on September 1, 2017:

Over the past several days, we have seen a multitude of individual students and student organizations step up with compassion and express a desire to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. We would like to provide a few important guidelines to ensure your support can be the most beneficial during this time.

THINGS TO DO

Donate money through trusted organizations. The most effective way to support disaster survivors is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable voluntary or charitable organizations.

  • Student Senate has established an SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund with the goal of providing a significant contribution to disaster relief efforts from the SMU community.
  • If your organization would like to collect cash donations for the SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund or other nonprofit organizations, or in-kind donations, please contact the Community Engagement & Leadership Center.

Give blood. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is sponsoring a blood drive with Carter BloodCare, which will send donations to its partners affected by Hurricane Harvey and local hospitals. Carter BloodCare is accepting donations at the Flagpole:

  • Tuesday, September 5, 11 a.m.-2:40 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 7, 10:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
  • Friday, September 8, 10 a.m.-1:40 p.m.

Donors should bring a government-issued photo ID, and should not fast before donating. Contact smuhealth@smu.edu with questions.

Get your philanthropic initiatives approved. All student and student organization philanthropic initiatives must be reported and approved by the appropriate campus resources, including the Community Engagement & Leadership Center, Student Activities and the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Contact CEL@smu.edu for approval.

Report your philanthropic initiatives. The Community Engagement & Leadership Center requires that students and student organizations report any philanthropic initiatives via our Donation Report Form.

THINGS TO AVOID

Don’t give unsolicited goods. Please do not collect or donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine or perishable food. When unsolicited and used personal items are donated, helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse and distribute items that may not meet needs.

Don’t set up unsupervised collection boxes around campus. Unsupervised collection boxes will not be permitted on campus. All collections for in-kind or financial donations on behalf of a nonprofit organization should be treated as an event and staffed during a specific, approved time period.

Don’t self-deploy to the affected areas. The State of Texas is asking volunteers not to self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up can create an additional burden for first responders. The National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) also has noted that the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and that individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement. To ensure volunteer safety, volunteers should go only to affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear and valid identification.

LONG-TERM RECOVERY

The recovery process will be long, and there will be many opportunities to volunteer in coming months and years. The Community Engagement & Leadership Center will make the campus community aware of future opportunities for general volunteers to help contribute to Hurricane Harvey relief.

If you have questions about how you or your student organization can contribute to Harvey relief or any other volunteer need in the community, please contact the Community Engagement & Leadership Center at CEL@smu.edu.

2017-09-05T16:34:41+00:00 September 5, 2017|Health and Safety, News|

A message from President Turner regarding Hurricane Harvey

Dear SMU family member,

Our SMU community has watched with alarm and sadness since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, leaving widespread suffering, loss and destruction in its wake.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all who are feeling the impact of this disaster, including SMU families and students whose loved ones and homes are in the affected regions.

We have communicated with students about SMU resources here to support them. These include confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services, which can be reached at 214-768-2277. An emergency contact number is provided 24 hours a day. Counseling Services is located in the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, and appointments are free. The Chaplain’s Office, located in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, also provides confidential counseling and can be reached at 214-768-4502.

Through SMU’s Caring Community Connections (CCC) program, family members, faculty, staff and fellow students can submit any concerns about students’ well-being in order to connect them with help. The CCC form is online: smu.edu/StudentAffairs/StudentLife/CCC.

SMU has reached out to Rice University and the University of Houston to offer assistance. In addition, many in our SMU community are offering prayers, support and donations to those who have been affected. I believe our community will continue to find ways to help as needs evolve in Dallas and across the state.

Among these efforts, the SMU Student Senate is raising funds for disaster relief, with the goal of providing a significant donation to the relief effort from the SMU community. The students’ “Help 4 Houston” effort will last for four days – through Saturday, September 2.

In the days and weeks ahead, SMU will continue to monitor this unprecedented disaster, as well as state and local relief efforts and needs. The SMU community stands with our Gulf Coast students, families and neighbors. We will continue to send our prayers and support.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

2017-08-30T14:50:25+00:00 August 30, 2017|Health and Safety, News|

Taking precautions against the flu

SMU health officials remind students, faculty and staff to take precautions against the flu and help prevent its spread by getting a flu shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who have not yet gotten a flu shot do so, with flu activity increasing across the country and expected to continue in coming weeks. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is seeing an increase in students exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

Free flu shots, while supplies last, are available to SMU students at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Students should bring their SMU ID to the Health Center.

Additional precautions

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces such as door handles. Cover your mouth with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your face. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.
  • Be aware of flu symptoms. Flu symptoms include fever with cough or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.

What to do if sick with the flu

  • Stay home and limit contact with others until you no longer have a fever (a temperature of less than 100.5 F) for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Seek medical attention if experiencing acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100.5 F.
  • Students with the flu should email their professors as soon as possible and let them know they have the flu.
  • If symptoms get worse after you have been on medication for three or four days, return to your healthcare provider to make sure you have not developed a secondary infection.
  • Those with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, or those who experience complications should call the Health Center at 214-768-2141.

To order meals for pickup by a friend

Resident students who have flu-like symptoms may order meals by phone from Arnold Dining Commons or Lee at the Umphrey Lee Center and have a friend pick up the meals from the location. Students who are ill may order food off the menu of the day, including soup.

Students should provide their name and ID number when calling. The meals will be deducted from their meal plan.

To order a meal, please call:

  • Arnold Dining Commons: Matt Thompson, 803-235-6881
  • Lee: Thomas Hermanson, 214-768-3922

If unable to reach either number, call Jonathan Tyson, 214-213-3340.

For more information about the flu

  • Contact the Health Center, 214-768-2141
  • Visit smu.edu/flu

 

2017-01-25T15:19:07+00:00 January 25, 2017|Health and Safety, News|

Supporting student well-being and academic progress

The following information is provided by Deanie Kepler, director of Parent and Family Programs, and Christi Contreras, director of Parent Giving:

The end of the fall semester and the holiday season are quickly approaching. As students begin to prepare for final exams, we’d like to share information from SMU resources to provide support.

Health and well-being

We were so pleased this year to mark the opening of the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, a state-of-the-art facility that provides students with comprehensive health care. The Health Center is home to Medical Services, Counseling Services, a full-service pharmacy and SMU’s health education program (smu.edu/healthcenter; 214-768-2141).

At SMU Counseling Services, students can obtain confidential help with stress, anxiety, depression or other concerns. Dr. Cathey Soutter, director of SMU Counseling Services, encourages parents to be aware of any signs of distress when talking with their students, such as withdrawal from normal interests, crying or emotional outbursts, or changes in class attendance or in sleeping or eating routines. Parents can remind students of counseling resources on campus (smu.edu/counseling; 214-768-2277, an emergency contact number is provided 24/7). In the event of any concern about a health or safety emergency, please call SMU Police (214-768-3333, available 24/7).

We’d also like you to be aware of the SMU Dean of Student’s “Caring Community Connections,” a system for family members, faculty, staff and students to provide confidential information in order to connect students who may need support with resources. A form is online at smu.edu/deanofstudentsccc. Please also check with your student that his or her emergency contact information is kept up to date in my.SMU.edu.

Two serious health and safety issues on campuses across the country are sexual misconduct, particularly among acquaintances, and alcohol and substance abuse. On SMU’s health and safety website – smu.edu/liveresponsibly – you can find information about SMU policies, campus and community resources, education and prevention. All students are expected to “live responsibly,” upholding high standards of behavior, respecting the rights of others, and assisting others in need.

Finally, please remind your student to stop by the Health Center to get a free flu shot if he or she has not yet done so.

Academic support

At SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC), learning specialists help students make a plan for final exams. They recommend creating a daily study schedule, using library resources and meeting with professors during office hours. At the A-LEC, students can obtain free tutoring, take workshops and review essays with English faculty members. If you would like to show support during exams, the A-LEC suggests sending encouraging messages and a reminder of your student’s strengths (smu.edu/alec; 214-768-3648).

Winter break is a good time to consider learning experiences beyond the classroom, such as Engaged Learning projects, internships through the Hegi Family Career Development Center and SMU Abroad programs. Winter and summer breaks also offer opportunities to earn credits through SMU JanTerm, MayTerm and other Summer Studies courses, both on the main Dallas campus and at SMU-in-Taos. The University Advising Center can help students plan ahead (smu.edu/advising; 214-768-2291).

We hope this information helps support your student’s continued progress at SMU. Below is contact information for SMU resources, and please do not hesitate to contact either of us directly if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach Deanie Kepler at 214-768-4797, or gkepler@smu.edu, and Christi Contreras at 214-768-4746, or cshelton@smu.edu.

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2016-11-08T16:20:42+00:00 November 8, 2016|Health and Safety, News|

Dr. Bob Smith Health Center offers free flu shots

Stock photo of man receiving shotThe Dr. Bob Smith Health Center has scheduled several free flu shot clinics, open to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, SMU retirees and retiree spouses:

  • Oct. 6 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Law School
  • Oct. 10 – 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Loyd All Sports Center
  • Oct. 17 – 1:30-3:30 p.m., Expressway Tower training room, East Campus
  • Oct. 26 – 2-6 p.m., SMU-in-Plano

Flu shots also are available at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, 6211 Bishop Blvd. Visit Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

To keep your visit as brief as possible, please:

For the 2016-2107 flu season:

  • Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use this season.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
  • The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.

> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at dallascounty.org

> Find statewide resources at TexasFlu.org

2016-10-06T14:22:30+00:00 October 6, 2016|Health and Safety, News|

Oct. 4 is National Night Out on SMU’s Main Quad

Tuesday, Oct. 4, is National Night Out, and SMU students, faculty and staff will gather on the Main Quad from 4-7 PM to share food, refreshments, and emergency and safety information.  This year, the observance of National Night Out will include an active shooter simulation at 5:30 p.m., in front of McFarlin Auditorium.

National Night Out LogoThe goal of the simulation is to make the campus community aware of actions they can take for their own safety in the event of an active shooter incident on our campus, and will be based on the “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol endorsed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While SMU police and other campus emergency personnel are well-trained to respond to campus emergencies, they stress that individual knowledge and training can save lives.

SMU students, faculty and staff can view basic information about all of the University’s emergency procedures, as well as videos that explain what to do in the event of an active shooter or a weather emergency, at www.smu.edu/emergency.

SMU has organized other active shooter drills in recent years, but this will be the first produced outdoors.  The SMU Police Department hopes that hosting the active shooter simulation on National Night Out will draw larger attendance and encourage students to share what they learn.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the University has over the past few weeks shared a series of public service messages via social media encouraging students to take a few simple steps toward their own safety – such as loading the phone number for SMU police (214-768-3333) into their cell phones and visiting the smu.edu/emergency website.  You can see these video messages, and learn more about emergency preparedness, at  http://www.smu.edu/News/2016/preparedness-sept2016.

2016-10-03T15:12:06+00:00 October 3, 2016|Health and Safety|

SMU publishes Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

The following message from President R. Gerald Turner was sent to the campus community on September 30, 2016, regarding SMU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report:

SMU is committed to maintaining an educational environment that supports safety and well-being through University policies, resources, education and prevention programs. Resources dedicated to campus safety include the SMU Police Department, which every year prepares and distributes a security report for the main SMU campus, SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos.

SMU’s annual security report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The security report, which includes SMU’s annual fire safety report, is available online at smu.edu/CleryReport. If you would like a paper copy, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail lindaperez@smu.edu.

The report contains three calendar years of crime statistics, including incidents occurring on SMU campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms. Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department and SMU officials who serve as campus security authorities.

I encourage you to participate in campus security programs, including the SMU Police Department’s crime prevention training and the fire safety and emergency preparedness drills coordinated by the Office of Risk Management. During the past year on campus, digital security camera coverage has continued to expand, and enhanced access controls have been installed on all parking areas. In addition, all SMU Police officers have been equipped with body cameras, and work is in progress to enhance campus lockdown measures.

Two serious national health and safety concerns are sexual misconduct and substance abuse. Please carefully review the information provided. In addition to SMU Police, important resources are the SMU Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, Counseling Services, the Chaplain’s Office, the Office of the Dean of Student Life, the Office of Violence Prevention & Support Services, and the Women & LGBT Center. SMU strictly prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. In case of sexual misconduct, all campus community members are urged to immediately call police. More information is online at smu.edu/LiveResponsibly.

Thank you for the important role you play in campus security. All students, faculty and staff members can contribute by being aware of University policies and security measures. I hope you are able to participate in SMU’s National Night Out, which is from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4 on the Main Quad. You will have the opportunity to participate in safety exercises and talk with SMU Police and other officials.

2016-09-30T10:43:09+00:00 September 30, 2016|Health and Safety, News|
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