Conversations about mental health and well-being
The Oregon State University community has been directly shaped by the development of the Campus Compact. The Division of Student Affairs has been a leader in community enhancement through the collective vision put forth by the Compact. Overall, there has been a significant increase in the quality of life for Student Affairs employees since the formation of the document. Many commented on an increased desire to go to work in the morning because of the relationships with coworkers that they have developed, since the Campus Compact encouraged such networking. There has been an overall increase in diversity among the faculty and diversity has been more regularly celebrated throughout the Division. There has also been a general leveling of the opportunities to contribute regardless of position in the division. Although there have been many concrete significant achievements that could be attributed to the document, there are still some concerns about the level at which some of the principles outlined in the Compact are pursued.
A reoccurring theme that appeared in the interviewing process, succinctly stated by Rich Shintaku was that, "...there is a need to keep the Compact present and right now it is threatened of becoming in the past. We have got to find a new and creative way to keep it in the present." The primary concern of many of the interviewees was the fact that the Campus Compact in its entirety has not been actively revisited for several years. This has been caused by a disconnect between newer employees who did not participate in its development and the vision intended by those who established the Compact. Many have suggested different means of revisiting the document and increasing accountability for achieving the ideals that have been established. Possible summits or a reaffirmation ceremony regarding the Campus Compact have been suggested. Some have also recommended retreats or framed conversations to work through concerns. By calling more attention to the document and giving it more visibility, some hope the concerns regarding the implementation of certain principles will be addressed.
The ideals of the Compact that appear to have been less vigorously pursued seem to hinge on the lack of consistency throughout the division. The richness in diversity on many different levels has guided different departments in different directions regarding the Campus Compact. The pursuit of the vision is so varied that the concerns about specific ideals that may have developed in one department could be a strength in another department. The challenge at hand is finding a framework by which the departments can achieve a level of synergism by fusing their strengths and weaknesses. Some have suggested division-wide evaluations and consistently framed discussions. Others have suggested uniform division-wide orientation and hiring procedures to integrate new in employees more efficiently, making them more familiar with the vision.
As with any vision, the ideals and principles put forth by the Campus Compact are a journey. It is not completely realistic to assume that all of the principles are vigorously pursued at all times. However, the Division of Student Affairs has achieved innumerable strides in the direction of the vision. There is always room for learning and improvement. It was suggested that there is a need to internalize each experience we have and learn from it, in order to emulate the values established by the document. As the Campus Compact continues to set expectations higher, we can make those values a part of our lives. Those values will encourage conditions to further improve and Oregon State University will continue to be enhanced by the contributions of Student Affairs.
"Hopefully the vision of the Campus Compact is heading towards becoming an introductory mechanism rather than just an aspiration. The immediate expectations that are set by the Compact should be the minimum. Anything beyond the expectations of the Compact should be encouraged."
"It is impressive that an organization has the ability to create a document like the Campus Compact - that's a critical first step. The real value of the work that has been done is in its daily practice, it's sustainability, and its ability to inspire accountability in all of us."