Written by Meredith Madison
Each year during homecoming season, Oklahoma Christian University’s Homecoming Philanthropy Committee votes on a campus organization in need of improvements to highlight with a philanthropy project. This year, the committee selected the Counseling Center.
Homecoming Executive Director Ben Kritz said the director of the Counseling Center came and spoke about the center in his Counseling Adolescents class.
“[Adkins] mentioned the number of students utilizing its services had increased during COVID,” Kritz said.“When I became Executive Director for Homecoming, the Counseling Center was one of the first organizations on campus that came to mind for a philanthropy project.”
Kritz said the Homecoming team hopes their efforts in fundraising will aid the Counseling Center.
“Our goal is to create a more inviting and calming space in the lobby of the Counseling Center,” Kritz said. “We are working with the art department to have a mural painted in the lobby as well.”
Through this philanthropy project, Kritz said he aims to bring more awareness to the Counseling Center, which will encourage those who are struggling to seek help.
“I wish more people knew the Counseling Center was readily available,” Kritz said. “College can be difficult, but the Counseling Center can be a valuable resource for issues students may be facing.”
Philanthropy Director Carli Hensal said within this project resides an opportunity to de-stigmatize mental health and create awareness about it.
“From a student’s perspective, mental health is still very stigmatized,” Hensal said. “Everyone struggles sometimes, and it is important to have someone to talk to about your feelings. We can spread more awareness by having more open conversations about mental health.”
Hensal said the updates to the center will provide a more welcoming atmosphere.
“Through this project, I hope to remind students they are not alone,” Hensal said. “The counseling center is available for all mental health needs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Taking care of yourself every once in a while is a beautiful thing.”
Sheldon Adkins, Director of the Counseling Center, said he is looking forward to seeing this project through and helping students who use his services to feel more comfortable.
“We are hopeful the improvements made to our lobby will make our center more welcoming to student clients as they begin the journey to making sometimes difficult and painful changes in their lives,” Adkins said.
Adkins went on to extend his thanks to the Philanthropy Project Committee for choosing the center as 2022’s project.
“We are very thankful to the homecoming philanthropy committee for choosing the Oklahoma Christian Counseling Center as their philanthropy project for this year,” Adkins said.
The Executive Homecoming Committee’s fundraising money in proceeds to the Counseling Center will unfold in the weeks to come.