ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud State University students feeling lost or rudderless during the COVID-19 pandemic have resources available to them.

SCSU's Center for Health and Wellness Innovation is continuing their fairly new Peer Wellness Coaching program using video platform Zoom to help participating students maintain their academic, physical and emotional health, and set personal goals, while learning remotely.

Peer Wellness Coach Sydney Fournier-Dingmann is a graduate student studying social work. She says all coaches are also in grad school, giving them an edge when it comes to understanding the pain points that come with being a student.

"We're not counselors, but we are trained in motivational interviewing," Fournier-Dingmann explained. "It enables us to meet with the students and be professional but maintain that level as a peer. The students we meet with are dealing with a lot of things we deal with as students, too."
And the support has remained in place during a challenging time. The pandemic has compounded the stress many students already feel during the semester, says Erica Karger-Gatzow, Assistant Director of Health Promotion and Marketing. She says the one-on-one support offered by the Peer Wellness Coaching program can clear up some of the confusion students are facing as they try to fulfill their academic and extracurricular duties remotely.
"When people haven't been on campus and haven't been in their regular routines, they might just be getting information from their peers," Karger-Gatzow explained. "So that's why we make sure our coaches are knowledgeable about what's going on on campus. They can give information on where students can access WiFi, or which buildings are open and when."
The Center offers one-on-one coaching sessions by appointment, along with "Husky Hangouts," which area video-enabled group meeting.
All services are free to St. Cloud State University students. For session times, contact information and a link to the Husky Hangouts Zoom portal, visit the program page on the Center for Health and Wellness Innovation's website.