JED Committee carries out its strategic plan

The JED Committee at Truman State University has been making progress toward its goals as outlined in the strategic plan. 

Some of these goals include implementing an extended deadline to add or drop classes, which went into effect this fall, allowing students more time to balance their schedules and wellness. The medical amnesty policy was also formally updated in August to bring it up to par with the recommendations of the JED Committee. Two policies about requesting a leave of absence and returning from a leave of absence have also been updated and are pending approval from Truman administration.

Brenda Higgins, JED Committee co-chair, said the JED Care Subcommittee had good attendance at the Brene Brown TedTalk viewing that it hosted. This committee also received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement a series of focus groups on campus that will work to prevent student substance abuse.

“The Care Subcommittee has been working this semester on reaching disconnected or isolated students,” Higgins said. “At this point they’ve just been evaluating the data that we have from surveys, and then looking at retention issues so we know who the disconnected and isolated students on campus are. We have to know who they are before we know who to reach out to and who needs help.”

Laura Bates, director of the Student Union and campus activities, is a part of the JED Programming and Message Subcommittee. This committee has been working towards a long-term goal as defined by the strategic plan to redefine the “typical Truman student.”

This semester, Bates worked on an initiative called Self Care Sundays, which is a monthly meeting intended to provide students a chance to decompress and refocus. The program began at the start of this semester, but has recently been placed on hold. 

For SCS specifically, the primary student coordinator needed to focus on their own personal wellness,” Bates said. “As a project of JED, we understand and respect a student needing to do that. This is why the initiative has been paused – to give time and space so those working on it can be coming at the project as their best self.”

The sessions of SCS that were hosted earlier this fall focused on topics such as life purpose, goal setting, and learning self-care skills. These sessions concluded with a brief period of relaxation yoga led by Roberta Donahue, a certified yoga instructor and health science professor at Truman.

Donahue said that relaxation yoga is helpful for students that want to refocus their minds, which is one of the goals of SCS.

“We are so overstimulated by all the technology that surrounds us all the time that our brains really need a break and to be able to focus on one thing without all those other distractions,” Donahue said. “I like yoga as it is designed to help the body prepare for meditation, and it helps you to learn to be still.”

Bates said SCS is “hopefully expected” to resume in the spring semester. In order to keep working toward the overall goal of student wellness, the JED Committee will continue to implement programs like SCS. A complete spreadsheet of the strategic plan can be accessed by anyone with Truman login credentials at