Mesa Community College students gather at a leadership event previously hosted by Student Life and Leadership. Photo courtesy of Erica Horihan.

Student Life and Leadership to host free one-day wellness retreat

Student Life and Leadership services on campus are hosting their annual spring leadership retreat on Feb. 26 to try and address some of the ways students and staff can better improve their mental and physical well-being. This will be the second time a Student Life and Leadership retreat will be held virtually, and it’s organizers are expecting something great. 

“It’s a collaboration between the student life offices at all of the colleges in our district,” said Erica Horihan, Student Services Specialist at Mesa Community College.

Typically held in-person, the success of the virtually held fall 2020 retreat has encouraged Student Life and Leadership to once again go digital for this one-day Maricopa leadership experience. 

Attendees may participate in one or all of the multiple workshop sessions covering resilience, yoga, cultural humility and communication. Special guests will include self-care expert Dr. Thomas Rojo Aubrey of the Glendale Community College Counseling department, Susan Jarvey, Yoga instructor from Mesa Community College, and Debbie Holexa, Mindfulness instructor for Mesa Community College. 

“A big part of what we do in Student Life is connecting students to campus and getting them engaged,” said Horihan. “Because we know that students who are engaged throughout their time in college are more successful than those who aren’t.”

Student Life and Leadership is responsible for much of campus’s “outside-of-the-classroom” experience. They help out with student clubs and the student body government as well as run the Mesa Market and We Care Wednesday, two free food distribution services available to Mesa Community College and Red Mountain students. Additionally, they provide digital assistance and quality-of-life services through the Virtual Student Life Center while raising awareness of school events by producing and distributing the newly established T-Bird Times newsletter

Student Life and Leadership also has a history of providing students with the opportunity of expanding their personal and professional abilities through service that directly benefits the lives of other students. 

Brianna Benson, Student Ambassador for Student Life and Leadership, says the help she received from administrators like Beth Anne Wright and Erick Tanchez Jr. was crucial to her starting and maintaining her on-campus addiction and recovery club, the Enthusiastic Sobriety Club. 

“I really wanted a club that revolved around people that have overcome addiction, or that were working some form of the 12-steps, or just working for recovery,” said Benson. “I joined college right after getting out of rehab, which is a big transition, and my [Student Life and Leadership] coworkers convinced me to start the club that I wanted, and that was a club for people who are either out of rehab or in-rehab and are taking classes at MCC.”

The Enthusiastic Sobriety Club, started by Benson at the initial stages of her time with Student Life and Leadership, is now sponsored every Wednesday as an official part of the MCC Counseling department. 

Alejandra Castaneda, the Vice President for the Associated Students of Mesa Community College, also says her experience with Student Life and Leadership, specifically those experiences during the fall 2018 leadership retreat, drastically improved her life as an MCC student.

“After going there I wanted to volunteer more at the school and get more involved,” said Castaneda. “I started getting more active at the college by joining clubs and everything, and I was like, ‘I love this. I love sharing information with people and showing them where to get scholarships’… I had the opportunity to show students there is a better way. ”

Now Vice President of the student body government, Castaneda and her colleagues are planning a women’s empowerment event in celebration of Women’s History Month in March. 

Any interested students or staff must register online to attend the upcoming spring wellness retreat. All events will be available to anyone throughout the entire day.