In partnership, the VPAA and VPSL will oversee a variety of wellness activities and personal growth opportunities for all students at various milestones in their academic career. Topics might include opportunities to learn about the self, personal finance, or strategies to promote mental and physical health. First-year students will be encouraged to think broadly about their goals through “reflection seminars,” modeled on similar programs offered at Stanford and Harvard. Upper-class students in a greater number of academic programs will consider their post-graduate options through alumni panel discussions and guest speakers highlighting the broad applicability of majors in different professional sectors. As needed, we will develop other programs or workshops to address expressed student interests. In the service of holistic student development, whenever possible, wellness programs should be devised and carried out by faculty and staff partnerships.
Last fall, Janett Muñoz ’18 approached finance professor Eugenio Dante Suarez and vice president for Student Life Sheryl Tynes about developing a class to help students struggling with personal money management.
“College is all fun and games until you become a senior and realize that you have no idea how to do your taxes, how to invest for retirement, or how to manage your money effectively,” said Muñoz, a biochemistry and molecular biology major. “Something unsettled me about how I could explain the role of carbonic anhydrase in the body, and yet I could not tell you the first thing about taxes.”
Suarez and Tynes are both part of the newly established Financial Literacy Collective, a collection of faculty and staff across University offices and departments who aim to promote wise money management practices and informed financial decision-making. Through the joint efforts of this group, the personal finance class filled to capacity after just a few days of open registration, and the waitlist exceeded 20 people. Michael Taylor, a business columnist for the San Antonio Express-News and Harvard graduate, taught the course.
Students in the course learned about compounding and discounting interest, saving for retirement, and investing and managing their own money.
“The goal of learning about personal finance should not be to ‘get rich,’ but rather to develop a healthy lifelong relationship with money, savings, investments, debts, taxes, insurance, and even estate planning,” Suarez says. “Our goal is to teach students good practices and to force us all to think about our spending and saving patterns, as well as about our paths after graduation.”
To achieve holistic wellness at Trinity University, two initiatives have been introduced—one to keep students active through bicycling, another to create a tobacco-free campus.
A bike-sharing program called B-Cycle was introduced in Spring 2017 in response to numerous requests by the Student Government Association (SGA). As many as 10 bikes, branded with the Trinity logo, were installed near the residence halls for students to use as an alternative to driving to nearby spots such as the Pearl, downtown, or other restaurants and facilities.
Nick Santulli ’18, the current SGA president, credits the work of previous SGA presidents Evan Lewis ’15, Sean McCutchen ’16, and Brenna Hill ’17 and says, “B-Cycle will provide the Trinity community with a convenient and fun transportation option, enhancing quality of life for all students.”
David M. Tuttle, associate vice president and Dean of Students, adds, “This initiative represents the best of our student government. They explored this option, surveyed students, worked collaboratively with B-Cycle staff, and dedicated money to the project because they thought it would benefit students over time.”
On Aug. 1, Trinity became a tobacco-free campus with a policy prohibiting the use of any tobacco product on campus. Not allowed are cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, and any other products usually identified with tobacco use. Also included are Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, e-cigarettes, and vaping.
Four years in the making, the policy is viewed by President Danny J. Anderson as supporting the Surgeon General’s findings that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. "As an institution of higher education, Trinity strives to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors in which to learn and work," Anderson says.
The policy has been endorsed by the President's office, the Faculty Senate, University staff, and the SGA.