The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

HERC teaches students how to Survive and Thrive

Eastern’s Health Education Resource Center (HERC) is dedicated to helping students combat the daily stresses of college life. 

In effort to teach students healthy coping methods and how to take care of themselves, HERC held Survive and Thrive, a four-week resiliency program.

The class meets every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Martinsville Room, in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The four weeklong sessions began on Sept. 20 and will end on Wednesday.

The Survive and Thrive curriculum is taught by Makayla Castle, a graduate student majoring in school counseling.

Castle uses the Resiliency Skills Training (ReST) philosophy to teach the class.

She stated that “What this class really does is really just ties in the self-care into building yourself up as a person and character and being reasonable.”

The Survive and Thrive program is a curriculum developed for universities across the nation, which Eastern decided to purchase, to serve the student body.

Although the HERC has been providing this curriculum for many years, this is the first year it has gone by the name Survive and Thrive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastern offered this class online, to ensure that students were getting the help they needed.

During the first session, Castle gave the students “The Resiliency Skills Training Workbook” that included information about the philosophy and many different 10-minute evidence-based exercises. She requested that the class choose one exercise to complete each week.

“They’re called exercises, but they go for different realms of wellness,” Castle said. “So like there’s a physical exercise to do, there’s a mental exercise to do. So it’s not just like, ‘oh go take a walk in nature for 30 minutes this week,’ you get to choose what kind of works better for you as an individual, but still find ways to take care of yourself.”

Castle was previously a family and consumer science teacher, teaching at the high school level. However, working with students opened her eyes to the continuous struggle of mental health among teenagers.

This realization helped sway Castle’s decision to further her education, to pursue a career as a school counselor.

“Mental health has just always kind of been a topic of interest of mine and as a teacher, I saw the need for mental health and healthy habits in the education field and I knew that teaching wasn’t a suitable career for me,” Castle said.

While back in school for her masters, Castle wanted to help her fellow peers who may be facing mental struggles. In July, she joined HERC to assist in their mission of helping students.

The Assistant Director of the HERC, Mathew Warner stated that the HERC “plays an overall role in improving students’ health and wellness. We do our best to try and take a look at the different dimensions of health and wellness and where we can improve those or if we don’t have the capacity to or there’s no one in our office that particularly specializes in that, helping guide them to where they need to be to get those things.”

Castle has been able to lead many curriculums and events to provide assistance and healthy living tips and information to Eastern’s campus.

The HERC focuses their events on three main categories, mental health, nutrition and sexual health and relationships.

Castle and five other graduate students host a wide array of classes that are in each of their special areas of interest. This allows students to get well-educated advice from fellow students.

Any event that students and faculty would like the HERC to host, can be requested.

Warner said, “There’s a wide variety of programming we do and if we don’t do it, individuals can put in a request with us and we’ll work with them to get them what they want.”

Warner mentioned that one of the graduate students has a background in nutrition, so she puts her knowledge to use by hosting cooking events every month.

Castle’s main focus regarding the events she hosts is mental health. She has hosted mindfulness meditation, homesickness, stress management classes and much more.

The HERC also works with resident assistants (RAs) on campus to promote campus safety in the resident halls. Their bulletin board to go program provides materials for RAs to create fun and informational bulletin boards for their halls.

One of the latest bulletin boards that the HERC has made was a Halloween themed board regarding alcohol safety.

All of the events through the HERC are free, although some require registration beforehand. Their event calendar can be viewed on their website.

Audra Gullquist can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Audra Gullquist
Audra Gullquist, Assistant News Editor
Audra Gullquist is a junior journalism major. She previously served as editor-in-chief at The Navigator.
Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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