USF Focuses on Student Success Through Wellness

By Lara Wade News Director


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2010) – To better serve the needs of students and to promote student success at the University of South Florida, the Division of Student Affairs has created Wellness USF, a department which focuses on the social, physical, emotional, intellectual, environmental and occupational dimensions of health. 

Alan Kent, assistant vice president of student affairs cites national surveys stating that eight of the top 10 barriers to student learning and success are related to factors such as stress, alcohol and relationship problems. 

“By focusing only on physical health, we may miss the opportunity to educate students about the key impediments to learning,” said Kent.  “Therefore, student affairs restructured its wellness programming and created the new Wellness USF Center which will focus on campus-wide efforts that promote overall student wellbeing.”

To further the mission and vision of Wellness USF, the new resource center opened July 24 in the retail corridor of the Marshall Student Center. 

“This very visible facility will serve as the doorway to the initiative on campus and be a great resource for students who seek information and referrals to support their health and wellbeing,” said Holly Rayko, health educator and interim director of Wellness USF.  Rayko says that students will be able to obtain health screenings, referral information, and a host of brochures and electronic information from the new office.  She also states that USF is among a small number of campuses nationwide to create an independent wellness department. 

Wellness USF has also contracted with a nationwide online student health magazine, Student Health 101, which provides timely health and wellness information geared towards college students. This free online publication is available to the USF community on the Wellness USF website at

The Wellness USF staff is collaborating with other departments committed to student wellbeing including Campus Recreation, Center for Advocacy and Violence Prevention, the Counseling Center, Student Health Services, and the USF College of Public Health.  Representatives  from these areas meet regularly as part of a Wellness Action Group (WAG) to create campus-wide education and prevention efforts. It is expected that membership will expand to include other areas that are dedicated to student wellbeing as Wellness USF grows.  Kent hopes to eventually extend the initiative to include student representation, other academic departments and expanded participation from USF Health.  Ultimately, Wellness USF will create campus-wide partnerships to promote wellness activities for staff in addition to students.

All members of the campus community are invited to stop by the new Wellness USF Center in the retail corridor of the Marshall Student Center.  The grand opening festivities are scheduled during Week of Welcome on Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.