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Supporting Student Wellness Series: SoulTalk
Sharing stressors, concerns and more can benefit individuals but for one reason or another, students may find themselves unable to talk to members of their support network. SoulTalk can be a resource for students who are not sure where to start on their internal or external connection-building journey. Members of the Orange community who notice a student may need additional support or are seeking community connections are invited to share weekly free SoulTalk sessions as a supportive resource.
Barnes Center at The Arch Peer Educators, including Yhanelly Ruiz ’23, emphasize that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic students now more than ever may be seeking support and community connections.
What is SoulTalk?
Seeking a safe space where students from all backgrounds could build community while experiencing deeper conversations about a variety of life’s topics, SoulTalk was first ignited by Sean Martinelli ’15 with the support of Katelyn Cowen, Barnes Center at The Arch health promotion director.
Now a part of the Wellness Leadership Institute, SoulTalk is a free weekly gathering where students have the opportunity to speak on matters of the heart, mind and soul. Led by student facilitators, SoulTalk guides students through discussions in a safe space.
Barnes Center at The Arch Peer Educator Brooke Kirchner ’23 thinks all students would benefit from attending SoulTalk, especially those looking to find their place on campus. “SoulTalk is helpful for individuals who feel they do not have a voice or are struggling with self-esteem.”
What is involved in the SoulTalk experience?
Students can expect to have meaningful conversations and build connections with their peers. “Vulnerability and honesty are valued and encouraged,” shares Barnes Center at The Arch Peer Educator Lily Braden ’23. “We want to create a space where students feel valued and worthy of having a voice.”
Offering a foundation of community, all experiences are hosted with respect and organic conversation. New topics are explored weekly, where individuals are welcome to join and listen or participate in the volunteer-based conversations. Braden further explains, “with sharing about common issues or troubles, we can connect with one another and realize that we are not alone.”
Student facilitators find it important to share that topics are not faith-based, and though some may include spiritually, those of all faiths or no faith are welcome. Further breaking down misconceptions, SoulTalk is not part of the Group Therapy series.
How can a student participate in SoulTalk?
Throughout the academic year, free SoulTalk sessions are hosted every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. Students can register on the Wellness Portal under the Wellness Leadership Institute. For first-time Wellness Portal users, instructions can be found on the Wellness Portal instructional webpage.
All Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) students are welcomed to participate. Remaining fall 2021 topics include the following. Stay tuned for the next round of topics, set to be released at the start of the spring semester.
- Thursday, Oct. 28: Imposter Syndrome
- Thursday, Nov. 4: Self-awareness
- Thursday, Nov. 11: Astrology
- Thursday, Nov. 18: Thankfulness
- Thursday, Dec. 2: Defining Family
- Thursday, Dec. 9: Traditions
About the Supporting Student Wellness Series
Through a student-focused lens of integrated health and wellness, this series explores a variety of Barnes Center at The Arch resources and services. In the pursuit of enhancing the student experience, topics empower faculty, staff, students, parents and families, as catalysts of health and wellness within their daily interactions.
Written by Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience communications intern Cecelia Kersten ’23, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications