In honor of Media Literacy Week, which is Oct. 24 to Oct. 28, the Communication & Media Studies program is sharing a piece of student work which demonstrates a core concept of Media Literacy: “Create.”
Campus students in COM 311: Writing for the Communication Profession honed their journalism skills earlier this semester, reporting on a news event. Students were required to cover Post’s annual Fresh Check Day, an event that focuses on mental health awareness.
Student Carli Perruso attended the event to gather facts and interview students before writing the news story below. Carli is a Communication & Media Studies major and a member of the women’s softball team.
Mental Health Checkup
Post Joins Other Universities to Promote Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention
Carli Perruso | Class of 2024, Communications & Media Studies
WATERBURY, Conn. – On Sept. 29, Post University held its annual Fresh Check Day on the Leever Center lawn.
In 2016, a non-profit organization, The Jordan Porco Foundation, reached out to Post in hopes to bring their event to campus. The organization’s Fresh Check Day is now an annual event, inviting students to openly talk and learn about mental health awareness, which can be a dark conversation, in a positive, light environment surrounded with support systems. Post University is one of more than 350 college campuses across the United States that host Fresh Check Day events.
At the event, student Niko Grollman, a men’s hockey player and resident assistant, supervised a game table. Students were encouraged to grab a frisbee and play with each other, in hopes of creating an inviting and active atmosphere.
When asked about the difference in this event from last year, Grollman said this year’s event seemed much more inclusive, interactive and exciting. Grollman said he “liked the chalk (messages) the most because it promotes anonymous, quick, positive notes from fellow classmates.” He said that the creativeness of this year’s event tables improved the event drastically from last year.
Along with chalk messages and frisbees, students competed in games of cornhole, had an opportunity to win prizes through a raffle, spoke with educational mentors for quick lessons and pamphlets, contributed to a “tree of life” that had students write about what makes life worth living and added ideas to a poster that lists negative thoughts, followed up writing positive thoughts.
Honors program assistant Wendy Zullo oversaw the table with a poster filled with intrusive, “throw it in the garbage” thoughts, followed up with students writing a positive mantra. When asked what Zullo liked most about her table, she said, “It doesn’t send them away with a negative message, it makes them stay to think of a positive one, in order to stay intact with both sides of the spectrum of feelings.”
The event promoted positive self-image while acknowledging that everyone has insecurities. Aubry Fappiano, assistant director of the Counseling Center, said that “This event allows students to learn practical ways to improve their mental well-being, check on their mental health, and offer suicide prevention strategies.”
Through educational pamphlets, the Counseling Center Booth provided the college students with a statistic that “1 out of 10 college students contemplate attempting suicide, meaning 9 out of 10 college students can be proactive supporters/bystanders.” Information also led students to spot signs of distress in their peers, and outlets to find the help services they need.
The event’s beautiful weather allowed for a massive flow of students full of smiles and good energy. Both Gollman and Zullo agreed that there was a larger turnout of students this year; last year 100 students attended the event.
The Jordan Porco Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Hartford, was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college. The organization is committed to preventing suicide in the high school and college student population, with awareness, education, and innovative programming to challenge the stigma of mental health. For more information on Fresh Check Day, visit FreshCheckDay.com.
For more information on Post’s Counseling Center, or to make an appointment, stop by the office in the Leever Student Center, call 203-596-4585 or e-mail [email protected].