As college students throughout Utah and the globe work to adjust to remote learning as a way to stay safe and healthy, Dixie State University is getting creative about keeping students feeling connected. In fact, starting today, and multiple times a week for the rest of the semester, students will receive a text from DSU’s mascot Brooks the Bison letting them know DSU cares about them and will be checking in to find out how they are doing. Although messages will vary each time, today’s message to students looks like this:
“Welcome back, Trailblazers! This is your mascot Brooks the Bison.
DSU cares about how you are doing during this uncertain time. We are using StudentPulse to provide weekly tips, resources and encouragement.
Let’s try it! How are you feeling today on a scale from 1-4? 1. Anxious 2. Worried 3. Calm or 4. Confident. Your response is completely anonymous. Txt STOP to OptOut.”
Student responses are all confidential and, depending on the answer, there are various replies sent out to keep students feeling encouraged and supported.
Although originally created as a proactive mental health tool, DSU has customized StudentPulse in response to COVID-19 to offer a resource as students grapple with new social distancing rules and adapt to learning from wherever they are. This unique texting program offers a way to check in on students even though they can’t all be together on campus. As part of the roll-out, students can look forward to texts with resources like podcasts, videos, blogs, and coloring pages, as well as weekly wellness checks, inspirational messages or memes all aimed at helping them stay positive and hopeful during this uncertain time.
StudentPulse was created by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Iuri T. Melo with the help of programmer Trent Staley. It all began with a desire to proactively check in with students, and what better way to do that than with a simple text? If a student didn’t receive a text but would like to opt in, they can by simply texting “Trailblazer” to 435.236.3370.
The program was first implemented at Desert Hills High School and grew from there to Dixie Middle and High School, and then to Dixie State University through a pilot in the summer of 2019. With an 80% response rate it’s clearly making a difference. That’s why Dixie State wanted to bring it back to help students in the midst of current uncertainties.
Shortly after the program was piloted at Dixie State, student Kari Rangel shared it on her social media – “Week 2 of getting a text like this. It’s from DSU, my school. It brings a smile to my face.”
This is just the reaction DSU is hoping for – smiling students who know they’ve got a support system to help them succeed.
For more information about DSU wellness support, please visit wellness.utahtech.edu.