By: Indigenous Wellness Alliance
Student organization at Arizona State University
The Indigenous Wellness Alliance (IWA) at Arizona State University is a student organization dedicated to providing networks among Indigenous students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the general public within health and wellness. It is our goal to support and create spaces for students interested in health-related careers. By planning and integrating school and community activities, we hope to help stimulate healthy lifestyles, cultural awareness, highlight health/healthcare disparities, and promote social growth of Indigenous students at ASU.
As a new Fall 2020 organization on the Downtown Phoenix campus, our vision was to engage the Indigenous community in a variety of in-person events which were quickly cancelled due to COVID-19. Our student organization then had to become creative to still fulfill our mission of providing a strong community for Indigenous students. Our biggest challenge was trying to virtually engage students in a meaningful way that provided a sense of belonging. We were able to overcome that challenge by volunteering in the Sharing Down Syndrome Car Parade and at Native Health’s Community Garden. We have also hosted student-led discussions and social events.
As a new organization, we were also excited to be a part of and host events throughout Native American Heritage Month. An event we hosted in collaboration with the Barrett Indigenous Culture Association this past semester was called “Colonization and the Effects on Health,” which was a student-led discussion about the impact colonialism has on Indigenous wellbeing. In collaboration with the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, we also hosted a Walking for Wellness challenge which started November 7 and led up to the annual “Keep the Resilience Run” on November 28.
Attending college can be a stressful time, but it allows the opportunity to grow as a person. Now, going to college during a pandemic is a different game, we as Indigenous students are faced with more obstacles and stressors that we haven’t faced before. This is why it’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to keep our wellness pillars balanced. Time management is an essential skill to succeed in college, but no assignment is worth more than your health and wellness. Your time is the most valuable thing that can be spent, so spend it on yourself.
We welcome students to get involved in our organization by coming to our general body meetings, future events, and following us on social media.