Commitment to Social Justice
The faculty and staff of West Chester University’s Counseling Center are fully committed to social justice. We define this as working toward a community that is empowering to all people, that supports equitable treatment across diverse identities, that allows fair access to resources, and that provides opportunities for all people to reach their full potential. The staff believe that no one should be discriminated against based on gender, sexuality, race, religion, age, ability, size, politics, class, socioeconomic status, or any other group membership; we believe that everyone should be treated with compassion, respect, and empathy. We recognize that experiences with marginalization can negatively impact emotional and psychological well-being and contribute to mental health problems. Therefore, we are committed to providing an environment that feels safe for all students. Ways in which we support these values include;
- Acknowledgement of the impact of discrimination, oppression, and marginalization on individuals and their psychological well-being.
- Dedication to maintaining and improving accessibility to our services through outreach, identifying and removing barriers to access, and building a strong multidisciplinary referral network across campus.
- Support of diverse student groups across campus by maintaining working relationships, responding to individual and group needs, attending events, providing presentations, and fostering interdepartmental ties.
- Development of multi-cultural counseling and supervision skills through increased awareness of the faculty and staff.
- Accountability to growing individually and as an organization by increasing our awareness of our biases, improving our understanding of the dynamics of power and privilege, and engaging in open dialogues regarding treatment and diversity.
- Attendance at events and trainings that promote ongoing learning regarding social justice.
- Investigating best practices for serving students of underrepresented populations.
Resources and Support
- Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- 13/15 University Avenue
- Phone: 610-436-2433
- The Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy
- 233 Sykes Student Union
- Phone: 610-436-3147
- Email: TransandQueer@wcupa.edu
- Dowdy Multicultural Center
- Sykes Student Union, Room 003
- Phone: 610-436-3273
- Email: email@example.com
- The Center for Women and Gender Equity
- Lawrence Center, Room 220
- Phone: 610-436-2122
- Email: WomensCenter@wcupa.edu
- Office of Services for Students with Disabilities
- Lawrence Center 223
- Phone: 610-436-2564
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may find support through a faith-based community. There are 11 religious/spiritual groups on campus.
The Most IMPORTANT way to care for yourself, is to: TAKE BREAKS
Activism is emotionally and physically exhausting. Give yourself permission to take breaks –you need to recharge!
Ways to take breaks:
Disengage from Social Media
The onslaught of negative messages online can feel overwhelming. Disconnecting regularly is a good way to take a break and come back to the issues another time.
You are such an important resource. Sometimes giving it your all means saying, “no.” This does not mean you don’t care about the issue – you just need some time to yourself.
Your mental health is very important. Check in with yourself to see how you are feeling – remember that your emotions are valid. Make sure to be kind to yourself. If your emotions are intense, this may be a sign to take a step back.
Make sure you are tending to your physical needs. This means eating well, staying hydrated, exercising, limiting substance use, and treating illness.
Tend to your relationships. Spend time with friends. Call your family members. Share
time with like-minded individuals.
Self-care looks different for everyone. Take some time to create a personal plan of how to take care of yourself and tend to your needs.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HATE SPEECH
There are times you may read or hear something bigoted, offensive, deplorable, or hateful. There are many ways to respond to this. Sometimes, it is most powerful to make your voice heard by speaking out. You can do this by addressing the source, posting online, joining a group/cause, talking to a government official or law officer, or speaking with family/friends. There are other times when your safety may feel threatened by speaking out. This is an important time to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Never act violently – you may harm yourself or others. Instead, seek support from people you trust.
Remember that the work you do as an activist is courageous, empathic, and valuable. Be good to yourself while you be good to the world.
- Find ways to stay connected. Reach out to friends, family, mentors, and student groups. Contact the offices listed above to find a safe space to talk or just be around others. You can also call the Chester Co. Warm-line if you need to talk: 866-846-2722
- Working toward advocacy and change can be exhausting and overwhelming. Make sure to tend to your self-care so you can be your most effective self. Try out the self-care tool-kit.
- There are times when you may experience compassion fatigue, finding it difficult to offer compassion to yourself and others. You can try some self-compassion exercises.
- Social justice is built around community. You can read books, articles, and blogs to learn more, connect with like-minded individuals, and to share with others. Many resources are included here: