A unique office with an original title, the “Center for Student Happiness” (CSH) is on a mission to support students with specialized services that sets Regent apart.
“I’ve never heard of any other place called the Center for Student Happiness,” said Dr. Joseph Umidi, executive vice president of Student Life. “People kind of laugh at the title, but in reality, I think the fingerprint of God is on this.”
Umidi says the Center isn’t just an office. It’s found in the hearts of students, staff and faculty, and it calls forth the peace, purpose and power of God that brings about a holistic sense of well-being. Particularly, for a college campus or online learning experience, conquering stress to empower students to achieve success is the objective.
The CSH bases its approach to achieving student happiness on research. It challenges popular culture’s notion that happiness is found through instant gratification, elusive standards of success, and whatever feels good. Instead, it seeks to define happiness from a biblical perspective, affirming what is true, beautiful and good.
“Everybody has their own ways to deal with stress,” said Umidi. “When they come here, they don’t realize how quickly some of those ways don’t work anymore because they’re not down by the lake, or they don’t have enough time to take a break, or they don’t have everything they used to have in a controlled environment.
The CSH provides resources like the 24/7 Regent CARES hotline, success coaching appointments, and, now, workshops to accomplish this. Success coaches run the workshops targeted at addressing stress, time management and decision making.
“We really ask our success coaches what they feel like they already do very well and they feel confident talking about,” said Hannah Stratton, orientation and student engagement coordinator. “That was supplemented by research, practice and going to experts in the field of decision-making or time management, collecting those resources and putting it all together. All of that work is done by our student success coaches. It’s from a student with a student’s perspective.”
The CSH served pizza during an open house to show students their coaching location in the Student Center. It’s also where the Regent CARES Call Center’s workers pray and answer questions around the clock.
“Students call here and have an array of questions regarding advising and admissions, financial aid, the Business Office,” said Mervin Walls with Regent Cares. “We kind of just make their experience a little bit easier.”
“If you’re seeking happiness, you’re not going to find it,” said Umidi. “But, if you walk in the joy of the Lord, happiness is a byproduct, not just for you, but for the people around you.”