New York, NY—To address what the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recognizes as “the defining public health crisis of our time,” 13 colleges—including Randolph—have received $3.275 million in funding from The Endeavor Foundation for the first phase of “Enhancing Student Learning and Experience through Campus Wellness, Student Wellbeing, and Mental Health Initiatives.”
The multi-year collaborative project seeks both to respond to pressing needs and to integrate attention to mental health, well-being, and wellness throughout student learning.
“Student mental health issues represent an urgent challenge. These issues affect students in ways that prevent them from full participation in campus life and rob them of the precious sense of well-being which should be theirs. We hope that the colleges’ work will help them transform their communities, as well as inspire other institutions of higher learning to address challenges collectively,” said Julie Kidd, president of The Endeavor Foundation.
The colleges—including Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, OH; Bennington College in Bennington, VT; Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL; College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME; Northland College in Ashland, WI; Prescott College in Prescott, AZ; Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA; St. John’s College, Annapolis in Annapolis, MD; St. John’s College, Santa Fe in Santa Fe, NM; Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT; Unity Environmental University in New Gloucester, ME; Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC; and Wells College in Aurora, NY—have been convened as a group by The Endeavor Foundation since 2016.
Ashley Kidd, vice president and director of programs at Endeavor, said the original idea of bringing the colleges together was “to work together to raise the visibility of smaller liberal arts colleges by drawing attention to the strength of their student-centered approaches and to the deep, transformative learning that takes place on their campuses.” In recent years, Kidd said, the focus for the colleges in the group, dubbed the “Endeavor Lab Colleges” (ELCs), evolved into discussion about the many challenges facing higher education and small colleges even more acutely and the decision to take on one of them collectively and collaboratively.
“A strong future for higher education in the United States lies in collaboration, not competition,” said Julie Kidd. “We are confident that we will see in this emerging project the benefits of collaboration as the ELCs work jointly to tackle the pressing problem of student mental health challenges. I salute their courage and dedication in doing so. Their courage is indeed a source of inspiration for our work at Endeavor.”
“We are honored to be among the Endeavor Lab Colleges,” said Sue Ott Rowlands, Randolph’s president. “This grant will allow us to implement transformational mental health and wellness programs and provide support for our students. This collaboration will provide Randolph with capacity-building resources and help us better address the growing trend of mental health needs of college students nationwide.”
Phase I, which will unfold over two years, focuses on immediate capacity building at each of the institutions and the development of shared pilot projects within four thematic areas, including credit-bearing curricular initiatives related to mental health and well-being; explorations of purposeful life and work, including defining personal values and what it means to live a meaningful life; place-based experiential learning in non-traditional classroom spaces; and expanded services and supports for mental health and well-being, including community care, clinical and non-clinical interventions and approaches, peer counseling, and restorative justice.
Each participating institution has received $100,000 this year and will receive $75,000 next year for this institutional capacity building. The ELCs will also develop and implement a process for continued and deepening collaboration. The successful completion of phase I will provide access to $5.225 million over three additional years, during which the schools will join forces to advance the most exciting and promising initiatives in one or more of the thematic areas. Together, they will develop programs and models that can be shared across the collaboration and to other liberal arts institutions.
“In this time when the value of higher education and of liberal arts education is regularly called into question, this project will show the power, relevance, and ingenuity of the liberal arts,” said Isabel Roche, executive director for special programs in higher education at Endeavor. “The colleges’ shared commitment to attending to student and community needs around mental health, well-being, and wellness in expanded and new ways will allow for a fuller and more dynamic realization of the liberal arts ambition of educating the whole student, through greater integration, examination, and care for the other forms of self.”
“Many colleges and universities are driven to prepare their students for a particular job or professional role,” added Lori Collins-Hall, the grant project director and vice president and chief operating officer at Sterling College. “Given the mental health crisis we are witnessing among young people on our campuses, we are united in our aim to equip students with the curiosity, creativity, interpersonal communication skills, resilience, and capacity for critical thought and self-efficacy that are essential for successful careers, meaningful lives, and engaged citizenship in today’s world.”
Randolph College is a private, nationally recognized, liberal arts college in Lynchburg, Virginia, focused on providing students an excellent educational foundation that will prepare them for life after college. Randolph specializes in—and is committed to—providing a unique, individualized experience that supports, challenges, and inspires students to develop their best self. It is our mission, and our business, to prepare students to engage the world critically and creatively, live and work honorably, and experience life abundantly.
With a nationally recognized faculty, small classes, growing athletic program, and TAKE2, its innovative new curricular model, Randolph College is uniquely prepared to meet the needs of today’s students—at an affordable price that’s comparable to many state schools.
With TAKE2, our students take two courses per half-mester, allowing plenty of time to focus in and dig deep into coursework, while still having time for a full college experience. The new curricular model, which features no classes on Wednesdays, provides the time and balance students need to get the most out of their time in college, while still graduating in four years.
At Randolph, we are dedicated to helping students identify their greatest talents, explore their interests, develop their particular gifts, and live up to the highest standards of personal honor. We believe there are no boundaries on what our students can do, who they can be, or what they can achieve. The possibilities and power lie in their capable hands. And Randolph College will be there to support them every step of the way.Tags: The Endeavor Foundation