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Knox College is receiving national recognition for its efforts to educate people on campus about mental health. Of 189 participating colleges and universities, Knox has been named the 2019 Outstanding Fresh Check Day Campus Award winner by the Jordan Porco Foundation.
Among the considerations of the Jordan Porco Foundation were Knox’s “outstanding planning, promotion, and implementation of Fresh Check Day”; “outstanding engagement and messaging at booths”; and “high student attendance as a result of outreach.”
Fresh Check Day is a mental health awareness fair held annually by Knox’s Counseling Services in collaboration with participating student organizations. Fresh Check Day booths aim to make students aware of different strategies for stress management and personal check-in methods, as well as educate students about mental health stigmas.
Director of Counseling Services and Assistant Dean of Student Wellness Janell McGruder said, “We are very intentional about what we do and look at how we can meet the needs of the students, especially the students who are less likely to vocalize their needs. It’s more than just a day of the academic year for us, it is something we do and work on how we can do more of.”
Leah Nelson from the Jordan Porco Foundation released a statement saying, “Knox College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, thoughtful booth representation, use of student input in program development, and reinforcement of Fresh Check Day themes with their ‘Fresh Check Day: Check-Ins’ model made them a standout recipient of this year’s award.”
McGruder said that a student suggestion "led to the creation of ‘Fresh Check Day: Check-Ins’. The purpose of these check-ins is to remind students of the resources available to them.” Check-Ins come to students in the form of reminders about the booths highlighted at Fresh Check Day, encouraging students to discuss the topic of mental health consistently and without stigma across campus.
In addition to the Outstanding Fresh Check Day Campus Award, Knox was acknowledged by the Jordan Porco Foundation for a new Knox-made booth called “Breaking Barriers,” an activity that asks students to dig in sandboxes to uncover mental health stigmas directed toward people of color.
“We decided to fill in what we thought was important to our community and make sure that students who are marginalized get heard,” said McGruder.
McGruder said that “overall, we keep trying to find ways to grow and meet the needs of our students.”
The following student organizations volunteered for Fresh Check Day 2019:
aaina (South Asian Club)
Alpha Phi Omega (APO)
Alpha Sigma Alpha (ASA)
Dare to Care
Queer & Trans People of Color Collective (QTPOCC)
Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI)
The following departments on campus assisted with Fresh Check Day 2019:
Center for Intercultural Life
Counseling Services Peer Educators
Published on March 31, 2020
by Lily Lauver '21