USF World News

International Student Success team connects students to wellness and safety resources

Two female USF international students take a break from classes to make friendship bracelets in the International Student Success Center during "De-Stress Fest"

USF international students take time to de-stress and make friendship bracelets.

TAMPA, FL (October 26, 2023) -- The International Student Success team plays a vital role in promoting health, wellness, and safety to its international student population. During the Fall Semester alone, they have coordinated such events as Hurricane Awareness, Bicycle Pedestrian, and Auto Safety, and a week-long De-Stress Fest.

Approximately 150 students attended the Hurricane Awareness event, which was conducted earlier than expected due to the emergence of Hurricane Idalia in late August. The International Student Success team liaised with USF Emergency Management, who contributed a large number of take-home safety brochures and leaflets, helping to reinforce the lessons learned at the event. Students attending the event wanted to know whether they were located in a flood zone, where they should shelter if called to evacuate, and what types of supplies they should pack when creating a disaster supply kit. “One of the true values of this event,” said Janna Eveland, Assistant Director of the International Student Success team, “is that we helped calm students’ worries by answering their questions in a timely manner and providing them with helpful resources.”

In early September, the International Student Success team was joined by members of the Center for Urban Transportation and Research and the USF Police Department to conduct its Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Auto Safety event. The informative event fostered meaningful interactions between students who attended.

The week-long De-Stress Fest conducted in early October attracted nearly 100 students. The event featured fun leisure stations for students to fashion friendship bracelets, paint door hangers, work on large, challenging puzzles, and create gooey slime/stress balls. The event was highlighted by a signature health fair attended by university and university-area stakeholders such as the USF Health Services and Wellness Center, the USF Counseling Center, the Area Health Education Center (AHEC), and USF Bulls2Bull. “We made a lot of quality, meaningful contacts with students at the De-Stress Fest,” said Susanna Perez-Fields, Communications and Marketing Officer with the Student Health and Wellness Center, “and this gave us the opportunity to connect them to our wellness services.”

The event’s sponsor, the USF Federal Credit Union (FCU), hosted a day-long scam prevention presentation to alert students to such dangers as identity theft and fraud, and provided them with valuable banking and cyber security tips. As part of the De-Stress-Fest, students who attended this scam prevention presentation and visited different stations at the event were eligible for a drawing of two $50 Amazon gift cards donated by the USF FCU. 

“The De-Stress Fest was an amazing event, combining fun activities like painting and making bracelets with information about cyber security and financial safety tips,” said Lana Walsh, business development strategist at USF Federal Credit Union. “Our team, John, Cole, and myself, had a great time interacting with the students. I loved their enthusiasm and passion. It’s contagious and I can’t wait for next year’s event!”