Ultra Vires


Bring on The Star

Dogs for Health and Wellness at UT Law
Dogs for Health and Wellness at UT Law

Earlier this year, Assistant Dean Students Alexis Archbold invited students with an interest in furthering health and wellness in the law school community to a lunchtime discussion in her office. Alexis emphasized that she wanted the ideas and drive for health and wellness initiatives at the law school for the upcoming year to come from law students themselves, and not from the faculty or the Dean’s office. We had a lively discussion about health and wellness in the law school and in the legal profession more broadly, and made plans to meet periodically into the summer months and thereafter. The Health and Wellness Student Advisory Committee (HWSAC) was born! [Ed note: great idea, horrible acronym]

HWSAC is comprised of 2L and 3L students and meets with Alexis Archbold periodically to discuss and advocate for the health and wellness-related needs and goals of law students and the law school community. Over the past few months, HWSAC and Assistant Dean Archbold have worked together to develop a health and wellness strategy for the faculty.

This comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy builds on the successes of other similar institutions. It is based on a survey of health and wellness initiatives in place at a range of second-entry professional degree programs in Canada and the US (including law, medicine, business, pharmacy, and dentistry). The strategy’s primary goal is to promote a healthy community and a culture of health and wellness, inclusivity, understanding, and helpfulness at the law school. Other goals include helping first year students transition to law school, fostering resilience and coping mechanisms, actively encouraging help-seeking and helping behaviours, facilitating access to appropriate health services (at the university and locally), and working to de-stigmatize mental health issues.

While HWSAC is not part of the SLS, there are plans to work with it (and other student groups) to achieve these goals.  At the end of this school year, HWSAC plans to assess the progress of the various health and wellness-related initiatives and goals to help shape the strategy for years to come.

There will be a wide range of exciting (and superrrrr zen) health and wellness-related initiatives at the law school this year. I can’t give much away just yet but if all goes to plan, dogs will be making monthly appearances at Flavelle and I can’t wait to read what The Star has to say about it!

If you are a 1L interested in becoming part of HWSAC, please email Assistant Dean Archbold at alexis.archbold@utoronto.ca!

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