Pepperdine Resilience-Informed Skills Education (RISE) Program
"The Pepperdine Resilience-Informed Skills Education (RISE) Program is our invitation to students to develop their resilience skills, care for themselves and their peers in times of need, and reinforce their ability to bounce back from life's challenges no matter how great or small."
-Connie Horton, Vice President for Student Affairs
Pepperdine has for years been attentive to the mental health and well-being of our students. We began more intentionally considering the possibility of an institution-wide resilience program as the University was emerging from the Borderline Shooting and the Woolsey Fire. This dual tragedy occurred just days apart in November 2018 and impacted the Pepperdine campus community in myriad ways. Many students encountered some of the most difficult days they had ever experienced, as they were suddenly confronted with the traumatic memories of the shooting, the loss of a friend, or the destruction of their homes and belongings. For some, it was the first time they had experienced the grief associated with a major loss, the aftermath of a traumatic event, or the devastation that can follow a natural disaster.
I am proud when I recall the many ways in which the University's Department of Public Safety, Counseling Center, Student Health Center, Student Care Team, and Housing and Residence Life teams rose to the occasion and met the needs of our students in the days, weeks, and months that followed. They were always thinking ahead, asking, "What's next? What else can we do?" Many students were exemplary in the ways they were involved in helping and caring for each other, as well. In life, students need to be prepared for what comes next. They will face life's difficulties as they move through their time here at Pepperdine and as they move further into their adult lives. Although those challenges will have many sources and take many forms, we believe that resilience is central to overcoming them.
The Pepperdine Resilience-Informed Skills Education (RISE) Program is our invitation to students to develop their resilience skills, care for themselves and their peers in times of need, and reinforce their ability to bounce back from life's challenges no matter how great or small. RISE is a central resource that provides students opportunities through workshops, classes, peer educators, resilience mentors and coaches, films and speakers, special service opportunities, and digital resources. Campus Recreation, the Counseling Center, the Office of the Chaplain, and Seaver Spiritual Life Programs will also provide enhanced opportunities to help students attend to their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I am especially grateful to be able to call President Jim Gash and First Lady Joline Gash partners in this initiative. Their dedication to the RISE mission is reflective of the University's commitment to supporting individuals throughout the many stages of their development and raising up all members of this distinct community with care, compassion, and love for one another.
I look forward to building the RISE community together and serving as a resource to students as they navigate their college years and beyond.
Vice President for Student Affairs