Students Get a Fresh Start on Involvement, Resources, and Wellness for the New Year


Melissa Lee Nilles

On January 14, undergraduates who were searching for a way to get involved or to discover helpful resources for their future at UCSB attended the Fresh Start Festival, hosted by the Office of Student Life. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., students had the opportunity to browse through the many organizations, centers, and resources that had set up informational tables in front of the Student Resource Building.

Each organization provided valuable information, flyers, and free goodies, such as buttons, Frisbees, or candy to those who attended the fair. Various noted groups participating in the event were the UCSB Office of Judicial Affairs, Davidson Library, Student Health, Disabled Students Program, Campus Learning Assistance Services, Stress Management Peers, The Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity, the Women’s Center, Active Minds, and The College of Letters and Sciences Academic Advising Program, among many other organizations.
When asked how the Fresh Start Festival helped students, Mark Shinshim, a representative at the Student Health table, said the fair was all about “becoming more aware of what you can do in a new year to maintain your life, and be happier and healthier.” Adding to Shinshim’s comment, Onyi Apakama, a student tabling for a branch of the UCSB Office of Judicial Affairs called “Speak Up Against Hate,” noted that the Fresh Start Festival was “a great way for students to start getting involved in the UCSB community.” Jan Faulkner, an employee tabling for Davidson Library amidst a sea of free yellow Frisbees, pens, and flyers, emphasized the willingness of organizations to provide services for undergraduates. “The various services [shown at this fair] are useful for freshmen and transfers,” Faulkner stated. “If you need help, here we are.”
Other programs tabling at the fair provided attendees with flyers and information on how to sign up for helpful free services on campus. At the Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) table, CLAS representative Jeff Harlig stressed how integral the tutoring service CLAS is to a “fresh start” for new students. Said Harlig, “[Upon entrance], students don’t realize how hard college is. First quarter is a wake-up call for most people. CLAS provides content and skills support to students, which helps them do better in their classes.” Another campus-based program, Stress Management Peers, which is located in the Counseling and Career Center, informed students about the various services they provide, including free access to the “Egg Chair” and the Massage Chair. Kristyn Fowkes, a representative for the Stress Management Peers, said the organization “promotes a fresh start on student mental wellness, and strives to de-stigmatize student health issues on campus.”

Students who missed the festival, but still want to know more about the resources and opportunities for involvement should visit the Student Resource Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and drop by any organizations that interest them, or search on the UCSB campus website for a listing of specific organizations.