Georgia Southern University Counseling Center wins Media Award
The Georgia Southern University Counseling Center won an Award for Excellence in Media by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. The award recognized the Counseling Center’s efforts to bring attention to the intersection of identities for individuals through their live Instagram series “Speak Fire,” which ran earlier this year.
“When we created the series we were trying to find innovative ways to reach out to students, particularly when there was so much fatigue from being online all day in the midst of COVID,” said Jodi Caldwell, Ph.D., executive director of the Counseling Center. “So we were trying to find ways to be therapeutic and helpful, but that were different from your typical webinar or Zoom meeting.”
The “Speak Fire” program was designed to create a safe place for students to ask questions and find support while meeting students in a familiar space — social media. By using the Instagram Live format, students were able to engage in real time with the individuals leading the sessions while in the comfort of a less formal setting.
“Jamal Hailey and Raven De La Cruz decided to focus on the intersecting identities of gender, sexual orientation and race, and how those can combine to create a unique set of influences on individuals,” Caldwell said. “The hope was to give individuals a safe place to really come explore the intersection of their identities, to provide a place for students to ask questions that they may not have another place to ask and to get support for their own experiences that they didn’t have another avenue to find support for.”
To be eligible for the award, the work presented had to have significance to student mental health and be relevant to current issues in the work of campus counseling centers, among other standards. Caldwell is proud of the team who came together to build the program.
“The way our field progresses is by nurturing the creativity and the energies of new mental health professionals,” Caldwell said. “This is recognition of some of the creativity and innovation of the clinicians here and the hard work that they’ve been doing through COVID. Hopefully, having this award communicates to all of our students that the Counseling Center is a place where people can receive support and explore any of the issues that they’re facing, and find support for that exploration.”
Two of the “Speak Fire” sessions are still available for viewing on the Instagram Video section of the Counseling Center’s Instagram profile, @georgiasoutherncounseling.
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