Creating Connection and Caring for the Wellbeing of our Students

As you know, our current state of national emergency has all of us finding our way through a period of intense feelings. The Wellbeing, Access and Prevention cluster of Student Affairs and Campus Life centers its work around community, connection, and resilience—three things that we are all likely paying extra attention to in this period of rapidly evolving information, remote instruction, and shifting expectations for social engagement. In an effort to provide some support and guidance as we cultivate the communities of care that make UMass a destination of choice for our students, please find below a selection of opportunities for connection:   

Coping With COVID: Drop-in Zoom Chat for Students dealing with loss as a result of COVID-19.

Fridays at 11 a.m. ET | Zoom ID 317 728 585

A weekly time for students to come together and talk with one another about life in the virtual space, and to learn about strategies and programming to address common concerns. Facilitated by Betsy Cracco, Executive Director of Wellbeing, Access, and Prevention, we’ll talk about

  • I didn’t get to say good-bye: Grief and Loss
  • I can’t stop eating junk food: The mind-body connection
  • I don’t want to get out of bed: The fatigue of change and anxiety
  • I can’t get off the couch: How to get moving
  •  I’m lonely: How can we stay connected – resources for finding connection
  • I’m angry: in the face of things we can’t change

Supporting Student Wellbeing in a Time of Online Instruction

April 3, 2020, 11:00 a.m. | Zoom ID 254 302 128

An opportunity for us to gather as a community of instructors to discuss how to best support our own, and our students’ wellbeing through this difficult time. Betsy Cracco, Executive Director of Wellbeing, Access and Prevention will host/moderate along with Claire Hamilton, Associate Provost and Director of The Center for Teaching and Learning. Format will be brief points and then supportive discussion.


This spring, SACL has been piloting a shared-accountability program, CoJourn, with the intention of developing student-facing programming in the fall. CoJourn offers a path toward personal achievement through goal-setting and communities of support to hold yourself accountable. In light of our current need, Wellbeing, Access, and Prevention programs is launching a student-facing CoJourn experience now, to help students stay on track for the remainder of the semester. Sign up to receive more information about participating in CoJourn.

Meditate UMass Challenge

We had been planning a campus-wide meditation challenge in Fall Semester. However, we believe the current situation calls for immediate resources that can help us ground and center ourselves. We have partnered with a company, Journey Live Meditation, and are offering all members of the UMass community (faculty, staff and students) a free one-month membership to this resource. Journey Live provides several daily opportunities to participate in live meditation, online, and in community. Participants can ask questions of the instructor and engage in interactive discussion. Use your NetID to sign up for 30 days’ free access.

As we move into this period of remote instruction and virtual engagement, social distancing has become the watchword for all that we do. As the physical space grows between is, now more than ever we must find new ways to support students in building meaningful, supportive relationships with one another. I am grateful for the work you all are doing to help transition our students into this new experience, and I am confident that together we can take up the charge of fostering connection in this unprecedented period of dislocation.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Cracco, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Wellbeing, Access, and Prevention

Student Affairs and Campus Life