Graduate students may notice something different about their program handbooks and course syllabi this fall. A clause is now included to stress the importance of one’s health and wellness, alongside their academic performance while pursuing graduate studies at Western.
If you’re surprised this wasn’t already included, you’re not alone.
Bhavin Prajapati, a Health Information Science graduate student, noticed last year this discrepancy between undergraduate program handbooks and those of graduate students. He teamed up with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) to do something about it.
“Some faculties, mainly the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, who has volunteered to spearhead this, will offer health-and-wellness information in their program handbooks (for graduate students) as a trial run this fall and they’re encouraging all professors to include it in their course syllabi,” Prajapati explained.
The addition is a paragraph’s worth, reminding students they need to mind their physical and mental health and offering up resources available on campus – ranging from the Western Student Recreational Centre to faculty-specific fitness initiatives to mental-health resources.
This year, programs and professors who participate are doing so voluntarily, but Prajapati hopes to see the inclusion become a required, common practice across graduate programs on campus.
“One thing I’ve noticed as a student who’s done an undergrad, as well as now being a grad at Western, is that students sometimes forget to take care of themselves,” Prajapati said. “And grad students are researchers so they play a role in academia as well.
“So, I wanted something very simple, that’s easy to do and implement, and if it normalizes one person’s mentality toward education that you should be cognoscent of your health and wellness, then hopefully that will go a long way and cause a chain reaction,” he continued.
“Western has a lot of great services for health and wellness that students already pay for in their tuition; they might as well take advantage of it.”
When it comes to health and wellness everyone on campus is becoming more conscious of how important it is, Prajapati said, noting SGPS will send out surveys after this trial year to hopefully measure the impact of this initiative to include information on available resources.