Transgender Awareness Week: The Importance of Pronouns!

aimes-photoThis Sunday wraps up Transgender Awareness Week, a week in which individuals and organizations around the country strive to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. For our contribution, here is a guest post from IUB senior Aimes Dobbins. Their area of study is queer advocacy.

An Open Letter to Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Let’s briefly talk about one simple tip on how to make a classroom environment a safer space for Queer/Transgender individuals!

Remember when you were in grade school and you learned about Pronouns? These words are used to describe a person’s gender identity (ex. She/Her, He/Him, They/Them [singular]). Every single person, no matter who they are, has a gender. A gender is how a person identifies themselves (man/woman/neither/both). It is important to remember to state your pronouns whenever introducing yourself to a new class. It’s easy!

Example: “Hello, my name is Aimes. I am a senior at IU Bloomington, and my Pronouns are They/Them/Theirs.”

Even if your own pronouns may be seemingly obvious, there may be other individuals in the room that might benefit from you initiating pronoun awareness. What this does is creates an environment where the transgender individual(s) in the room won’t have to single themselves out by designating their gender only when someone misreads their gender.

Why is this important?

Having to single yourself out can make an individual feel uncomfortable or even anxious. Experiences like this can be detrimental to an individual’s mental health (when your identity is invalidated intentionally or unintentionally). If you are the person, “the informed ally,” who initiates acknowledging everyone’s pronoun upon introduction, you can help foster more a positive and welcoming environment for all individuals in the room. Eventually, it will become a common thing to do when an individual introduces themselves.

Lastly, I want you to remember…

We are all growing into someone new, every day.

We are always learning about and teaching each other, every day.

In reading this, you learned something today. Please, share it. Pass it on.

You just might make someone’s day, every day!



Aimes Dobbins

IMP Queer Advocacy BA
Class of 2017

Health Center Receives Grant to Refresh IU’s Tobacco-Free Policy


Indiana University Health Center was awarded a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), a $3.6 million multi-year program intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

Over the next three years, colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will be awarded TFGCI grants to support their efforts to advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy. Campuses will also receive technical assistance and resources to support their efforts with education, communications, cessation and evaluation. Indiana University is one of the first 20 colleges and universities to receive a TFGCI grant and will move forward with a new “Refresh IU” tobacco-free initiative.

“We are so honored to be one of the first universities to receive this pioneering grant. With this grant and our new Refresh IU campaign, we look forward to continuing to enable our tobacco prevention team to promote a strong 100 percent tobacco-free policy on campus,” said Cathy Wyatt, Assistant Director of Disease Prevention Programs. “Building on the work we’ve done over the past eight years, we will strive to protect the health and wellness of our faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Creating a healthier and cleaner campus environment continues to be a very high priority.”

TFGCI grants are intended to address a critical, unmet need by helping colleges and universities achieve 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. The U.S. Department of Education reports there are approximately 4,700 institutions of higher education in the United States. According to the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, only 1,427 college campuses are 100 percent smoke- and tobacco- free. That reflects major progress over earlier years, but much remains to be done.

According to a new Morning Consult poll of 2,202 registered voters, commissioned by CVS Health on October 12-18, 2016, there is strong public support for addressing the continued impact of tobacco use on college and university campuses. Among the key poll findings:

  • More than half of Americans (56%) think the number of tobacco-free campuses is too low. This is similar among U.S. college students where the combined percentage is 54 percent.
  • Three-quarters (75%) of Americans support policies that prohibit smoking and other tobacco use on college campuses.
  • Fifty-two percent of Americans think whether or not a campus is tobacco-free is an important consideration when applying to, and potentially attending, a college/university, ranking behind academic quality (86%) and quality of housing (79%), but ahead of how competitive athletic teams are (38%).

“Through support from the CVS Health Foundation, we are excited to advance the efforts of many dedicated students, faculty and staff to make their campuses 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free using proven strategies that will also reduce tobacco use among students,” said Cliff Douglas, vice president for tobacco control and director of the American Cancer Society’s Center for Tobacco Control. “To be successful in creating a tobacco-free generation, it is important that we prevent and eliminate lethal and addictive tobacco use among America’s college students.”

This TFCGI grant announcement coincides with the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 17, an intervention effort to encourage smokers to quit for a day, quit for good, or make a plan to quit.

TFGCI is part of Be The First, CVS Health’s new five-year, $50 million initiative that uses education, advocacy, tobacco control, and healthy behavior programming to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco- free generation and extend the company’s larger commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives. CVS Health has set actionable and measurable goals for Be The First, including a doubling of the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States. In 2014, CVS Health became the first, and remains the only, national pharmacy chain to eliminate the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products from its stores.

“We’re at a critical moment in our nation’s efforts to end the epidemic of tobacco use, but we know we can’t do it alone,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Health, and President of the CVS Health Foundation. “Through the power of partnership and by increasing the number of tobacco-free colleges and universities, we can contribute to the progress being made where a tobacco-free generation in the U.S. seems possible, and not a faraway dream.”

The Health Center offers FREE and concise tobacco cessation appointments – both in groups and individually. Tobacco cessation sessions can be scheduled for either our Indiana Memorial Union Room M005 location, or the IU Health Center on Tenth and Jordan. To make an appointment, call 812-856-4468 or email Get help now at


Health Center Launches Student and Employee Wellness Coaching

Whether you’re an employee looking for assistance with weight loss and managing health conditions, or a student looking for help with academic performance and basic adulting skills, Indiana University Health Center has the right program for you.

Adulting IU and Wellness at Work are two new programs available to help students and employees visualize and achieve their goals with the help of a certified wellness coach. Indiana University Health Center’s wellness coaching programs take an integrated approach using both a medical component and a wellness component along with adjunctive care options like massage, nutrition counseling, manual therapy, aromatherapy, biofeedback, and more.

Participants will start with a brief medical assessment to aid in an appropriate referral if there are medical barriers determined during the initial visit (i.e. “see your family doctor to be evaluated for diabetes and receive treatment as needed”). This will be immediately followed by 45 minutes with a wellness coach, who will help you identify your priorities and develop a personal wellness plan including a vision, three month goals and the first steps.

In subsequent 30-minute coaching sessions, you and your coach will review the progress toward your vision and goals, explore and resolve the most pressing issues, learn something new, then agree on a set of goals for the following appointment.

Wellness coaches are trained to help you, as a client, develop and implement personal wellness plans by accepting and meeting you where you are today, asking you to take charge, guiding you in doing the mindful thinking and work that builds confidence, and helping you create a personal wellness blueprint, setting realistic long-term and short-term goals. They challenge you to go beyond where you would go alone. By the end of three months, you can expect to reach more than 70% of your three-month goals and feel energized and confident to embark on new areas with or without your coach.

Our certified wellness coaches are healthcare professionals trained in behavior change theory, motivational strategies, and communication techniques, which are used to assist clients to develop intrinsic motivation and obtain skills to create sustainable change for improved health and well-being. Our coaches have been trained and certified in the latest coaching practices through prestigious programs at Wellcoaches®, Mayo Clinic, and/or Duke Integrative Medicine.


Students with Paid Health Fee

  • Initial appointment: 60 minutes, $75
  • Follow up appointments: 30 minutes, $25

Students without Health Fee and Employees (*visits will be submitted to Blue Cross Blue Shield plans)

  • Initial appointment: 60 minutes, $115
  • Follow up appointments: 30 minutes, $30

Here’s a little more for you on our student wellness coaching program, Adulting IU. Call 812-855-7338 for an appointment or drop by Wellness at Wells for more information.

Health and Benefits Fair to Take Place November 10

health-ben-fair-postcard-2016University Human Resources and the IU Health Center present the Health & Benefits Fair on November 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union (Alumni Hall, Solarium, and Frangipani Room). This event is free and open to the public.

• Discover over 60 campus and community resources that support your health and wellness
• Free food, smoothies and giveaways
• Free chair massages
• Get your flu shot
• Learn more about IU employee benefit plans
• Talk with Human Resources staff and get help making your Open Enrollment elections
• Free vision and hearing screenings

Full details can be found here.

Cook with Katie: Banana Boats!

bananas on banana boatHey there, and welcome back to #CookwithKatie, Halloween edition! I think from now until Christmas, sugar is lurking everywhere, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to make a healthy (yet, sugary) dessert recipe–banana boats! What I love about this recipe is that it is easy (a MUST for this blog), filling (you shouldn’t be tempted to run to the candy bowl), and most of all, it’s FUN! Now, let’s get cooking!…

Preheat your oven to 350. Slice one banana lengthwise down the middle, and leave the banana in the peel. Next, take a spoonful of peanut butter and spread this into the base of your banana. I like to use natural peanut butter which only contains peanuts and salt. Many commercial nut butters contain additives like hydrogenated oils, sugars, and palm oil that aren’t necessary and make the product less healthy.

Next, add some fun toppings! I use dark chocolate chips, sliced almonds, and a cut up marshmallow (4-5 mini marshmallows work great too). There are so many variations you can do with this recipe. You can even cut up your favorite fun-size Halloween candy bar!

When your creation is complete, wrap the entire banana up in aluminum foil and bake in your preheated oven for 5-10 minutes. The easiest way to know your banana is done is to watch the marshmallows–they will start to bubble!

The peel will darken while in the oven. Don’t be alarmed, it’s totally normal!

Now, what makes this recipe healthy and satisfying? It’s just a bunch of sugar, right?

First of all, the banana, like all fruits and vegetables, contains fiber, which helps you feel full. If you feel full, it’s easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. Secondly, the peanut butter contains protein and heart healthy fats, which is going to be much more satisfying than a treat that contains mostly sugar. Also, by adding small amounts of sugar, such as a few chocolate chips or a small candy bar, you can satisfy that sweet tooth without going overboard.

As an added bonus, should you choose to use dark chocolate, it contains powerful antioxidants. Just remember moderation. 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate chips or 1-2 small squares of dark chocolate are adequate portions for most people. But who needs an excuse to eat chocolate anyway?

The ingredients inside will be pretty goopy, so I suggest eating it inside the peel and having a napkin or two nearby! Think s’mores messy!

Happy Halloween!

There’s Nothing to Do in Bloomington. Just Kidding.

Sommer at Rent-a-Puppy, one of her favorite events!
Sommer Schrader at Rent-A-Puppy, one of her favorite campus events

By Sommer Schrader

Hey there, readers! My name is Sommer and I’m a 20-year-old junior studying Elementary Education. I was born in Washington D.C. to two IU Alumni and Indiana natives and was raised right here in B-Town. I absolutely love living in such a vibrant and active place, home to my favorite Hoosier campus.

Students at Indiana University are very fortunate because not only do they attend one of the best schools in the country, they get to live in a town filled with endless activities. The Bloomington campus is non-stop action; there’s always something going on and something fun to do. Our campus is very diverse, and is easily ready to give each student a fulfilling experience. With often little to no cost, there is something for everyone to do.

Campus Beauty

One very simple activity is to grab a friend or two and go on a walk or run around campus. Indiana University’s beauty is nationally ranked for a reason; it is uniquely charming and calming, so take a break and explore. You might find a new favorite spot to study.

Sports and Clubs

Another perk of being a student is that you can use both of our recreational sports centers (the WIC and the SRSC) which provide access to strength workouts, tracks, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, studios, swimming pools, and more. Students can take workout classes together like Pilates, cardio core, or kickboxing. We can also join one of the many intramural teams on campus, like basketball, soccer, flag football, table tennis, baseball, or volleyball. There are other club sports as well, including Quidditch (yes the Quidditch of Harry Potter!).

Outside of sports, there are 826 student-led registered clubs here, guaranteeing that everyone will be able to find a club they love!

Another reason sports fans are covered is due to IU’s outstanding athletic program! Admission to several sporting events is free, with the main exception being men’s basketball and football. We have two fantastic soccer teams (both men’s and women’s), a baseball team, a tennis team, competitive volleyball, and a nationally-ranked swimming and diving team, among other amazing athletics programs! Go support them; it won’t cost you a penny!

For the more artistic, musical, or theatrical person, there are plenty of options for you! The Contemporary Dance program puts on free workshop performances every year, and the IU Theatre has a plethora of its own! The IU Auditorium, which hosts many professional Broadway Companies, concerts, and speakers, has discounted rates for students. From these, to the Art Museum, to performances by students in the Jacobs School of Music, quality entertainment is not hard to find. Additionally, the IU Cinema and Union Board Films often show free or reduced-priced movies for students.

Another free annual event on campus is the World’s Fare, the university’s premier international celebration. Here, students create vibrant booths with activities celebrating their countries’ culture and food. This event is a favorite of mine, and is located in the IMU in just a couple of weeks on November 11!

Bloomington is also home to Buskirk-Chumley Theater, which has been in existence since 1922. The Buskirk is host to community theater productions put on by Cardinal Stage Company, as well as to movies, concerts, dance performances, and more.

Indiana Memorial Union

The IMU has been a prominent source of fun for all students over the years. Activities such as bowling at the IMU Bowling and Billiards, hitting the pool tables, or playing with its gaming consoles are just some of the opportunities within. Another option is to grab a group of friends and enjoy the excitement of IU Late Nite activities. Looking for a place to relax? You can find a Starbucks café which offers a huge dining area to sit and talk with friends or work on some homework. There are many other lounging areas as well, spread throughout the IMU’s hidden corners. If you’re hungry, Sugar and Spice Bakery, a personal favorite of mine, offers a variety of delicious sweets. Grab a cookie!


Speaking of food, in terms of food outside of the campus and IMU, the options are endless. If you want dessert first, Hartzell’s Ice Cream, slightly past Sample Gates, is an ice cream shop full of delicious original flavors. Head East from there to Fourth Street, where you will find two city blocks full of ethnic restaurants that serve their own authentic food. Bloomington is known for its local and unique restaurants, and this street is the main reason why. A personal favorite of mine is Anatolia, which hosts delicious Turkish food. Siam House, featuring Thai food, is also popular.

The B-Line trail which runs through the entire town, has paved trails ideal for bikers and pedestrians, but also runs through the local Farmers Market which happens on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The Market contains local music, fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables, as well as other local foods. Yum!

Outdoor and Active Adventures

Love outdoor adventures? Check out one of the official IU Outdoor Adventures programs, which include kayaking, hiking, zip lining trips and more. If you want to branch out beyond the campus boundaries, head over to Griffy Lake, a local favorite. Griffy Lake offers beautiful views, hiking trails, and they offer kayak rentals, a great way to spend a few hours for a low cost. Bloomington is also host to Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe. Nearby Brown County makes for a great day trip as well.

One of the most famous events that Bloomington is known for is the Little 500 race, otherwise known as “America’s Greatest College Weekend”. Bikers train year-round to win the title and take this challenge very seriously. It’s definitely something every college student should experience.

Finally, one of all-time favorite annual events on campus is the Rent-A-Puppy, shortly after the Little 500 weekend. This occurs every year in Dunn Meadow, during dead week of the spring semester, where puppies from the local animal shelter are brought over, and you can rent them for for a half hour with proceeds going to charity. All of the dogs are adoptable, and even if you can’t take one home, at least you get to give them a little love!

Bloomington is a vibrant and entertaining city offering many things for students to do. Make sure to carry your student ID with you to get your free admissions and discounts (when offered)! The city and campus are both extremely welcoming and engaging, so make the most of the time while you are here! Don’t be afraid to branch out, try new things, and make some new friends. Bloomington is yours for the taking.

Campus Sustainability and YOU

istock_84434609_largeBy Joe Sheese, Building Manager

October marks the unofficial beginning of autumn. This month is associated with cool, brisk evenings, foliage changing colors, football games, and costumes. It’s also Campus Sustainability Month. Here at the Indiana University Health Center, our mission is for you to have a healthy mind, body, and life. We’re also concerned with the impact of sustainability on a community’s health.

You’d have to your head buried in a landfill not to have heard of “sustainability” or “green initiatives” at this point. We generally think of this in terms of resources–reducing, reusing, and recycling to better steward resources and cut pollution.

What gets less attention is the effect of sustainability upon a person’s health. There’s a close correlation between human health and environmental health. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people die each year from urban air pollution. Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence combined, including war.

From the air we breathe, to the water we drink and use, life on Earth depends on the natural resources and the environment around us. The goal of sustainability is to promote healthy, viable, and equitable communities.

We want to lead the charge on sustainability, and we strive to have a “healthy planet, healthy people” mindset in everything that we do. Since 2010, we’ve had a Green Team consisting of representatives from every department. As a direct result of this, we’ve implemented many initiatives to reduce our ecological footprint.

Some of our successes include reducing the amount of biohazardous waste we produce annually. In 2010, we were producing approximately 3,600 cubic feet of biohazardous waste (that’s equivalent to 27,000 gallons!). This waste is disposed of by an outside vendor via incineration, which adds to air pollution.

As of last year, we had reduced that amount of waste by more than 66%. We put aerators on every faucet in the building in 2014 which reduced our water usage by an average of 1.2 million gallons a year since their installation.

Additionally, we’ve added water bottle refilling stations on each of our four floors. Since installing them, we’ve saved about 40,000 twenty ounce bottles of water from going in the landfill. We’ve also improved our recycling efforts dramatically over the past year.

These are a just a few of the ways we continue to better the University and greater Bloomington community in regards to sustainability. That said, we can’t afford to pat ourselves on the back. If we want to leave a healthier planet for generations to come, we need everyone to participate.

Today, you are students at Indiana University, but tomorrow, you will be the leaders and thought influencers of the world. Let’s make sure we all continue to work together towards a “healthy planet, healthy people” model for future generations. Celebrate Campus Sustainability Month with us by doing your part and living with a sustainability mindset!

Politics of Sexuality Panel October 26

Election ahead yellow highway road sign

What’s the power of your vote on issues related to sexual health and well-being? Do you have any? Locally? Nationally?

Discover this and more at The Politics of Sexuality, a sexual health panel at the IMU Whittenberger Auditorium on Wednesday, October 26, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Panelists will present and discuss a variety of sexual health topics designed to assist you in making decisions at the polls.

“The Politics of Sexuality is an opportunity to ask questions and explore all aspects of sexual health in politics,” said Heather Eastman-Mueller, Sexual Health Educator. “It is not an opportunity to debate these issues, but to be better informed.”

Campus and community representatives will serve as panelists. The event is free and open to the public.

Coming to Terms with Depression

The following is an anonymous post written by a student with Depression for IU Depression Awareness and Screening Week (#IUDASW). He/she is now a member of Crimson Corps. Learn more about Crimson Corps here.

By: A Crimson Corps Student

At the end of my freshmen year of college, my Facebook feed was filled with posts from my old high school peers blogging about the lessons they’ve learned over their first year in college, and the experiences they’ve shared with new friends. I cannot tell you how many times I would reread those posts, see how many people commented or liked those posts, and how many times I questioned what was wrong with me and why my story was not the same. It was not until I was diagnosed with Depression the following summer that I began to understand.

When I left for college, I quickly realized that I was not adjusting as quickly or easily as I had previously thought. That belief was reinforced and strengthened every time I logged onto a social media account and saw the positive experiences my friends were having at their new schools.

Within two months of leaving home, I was not sleeping or eating on a regular schedule. I was overcome with anxiety stepping into my large lecture classes because there were too many people surrounding me and conversing with one another. I was exhausted all of the time, except for when I would finally climb into bed. Not wanting to worry my family and friends, I never revealed how much I was actually struggling. And the times when I would confide in them, they always promised that everyone adjusts to college life differently and that it would get better with time. However, things became worse.

I started to miss my classes. At first it was just one or two classes when I was having a rough day, and then came the days where I would only get out of bed to give myself enough time to make it seem like I went to class so that my roommate wouldn’t find out that I laid in bed all day. I had always prided myself in the fact that I was a strong student and never skipped a day of high school, and now I was missing several classes each day for days in a row. What happened to the unapologetically happy person I used to be? Why could no one see I was struggling? When would I be able to look my friends and family in the eye and tell them the truth?

This is the state I was in when my family came after spring finals to bring me home for the summer. But my family didn’t notice, and I don’t blame them. Not only was I extremely good at hiding what I was going through, but I was also excited for the first time in months to be home for more than just a few weeks.

Once home, I decided to see my therapist again, who officially diagnosed me with clinical Depression. At first, I was relieved to finally put a name on the feelings I was experiencing, and then I grew angry. It wasn’t fair. I already had my rough patch. I felt that going through middle school with a debilitating case of obsessive compulsive disorder, and working harder than ever to learn how to control it meant that I was set in recovery mode.

It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I have Depression and need to learn a new skill set to live with both depression and anxiety, but I was soon able to accept that part of myself. I began to see strength and resilience in myself, instead of weakness, laziness, and hopelessness.

I was able to open up to my family and tell them about the year I had been through, and their support gave me the courage to open up to a few of my friends. However, the first friend I confided in lead me to doubt myself again. Instead of being met with support and love, my friend responded with comments rooted in social stigma. He told me that while I was one of the most anxious people he knows, I was also one of the most positive and lighthearted. He told me that Depression “just wasn’t me” and that I only needed to keep my chin up because “happiness is a choice.” For a moment, I doubted myself and fed into the stigma that surrounds mental illness, until I told my story to my best friend. The support I received helped me to move past the comments rooted in stigma, and I began to heal. Now, I am able to notice my triggers and recognize when I am headed on a downward spiral. I have a toolset to use when life becomes overwhelming, and as a result, I am a stronger woman.

Political Stress Reduction 101

Election ahead yellow highway road sign

Do the debates have your stomach tied in a knot? Tired of watching your friends argue on social media? Here are five tips for lowering political stress as Election Day approaches.

  1. Turn anxiety into action. Avoid just stewing about the other candidate(s). Instead, try to figure out ways you can act, like training to work at a polling location. Educate yourself as deeply as you can, write to public officials in support of a cause you believe in, or find volunteer work to alleviate some of many stressors our world faces.
  2. Search for calm news sources and avoid those that shout and argue. Argumentative news sources are nearly guaranteed to raise stress levels. Laugh, when you can, at sound bites. The world’s complexity can rarely be reduced to a pat phrase. Balance your viewing of straight news with humorous parodies. They can be informative in their own way but also provide stress-relieving humor.
  3. Vary your news sources. If you rely mainly on social media, try a newspaper, a thoughtful blog, or listening to the radio. Challenge yourself to see the other side of meaningful situations or questions.
  4. Avoid talking politics with people that you know are dogmatic, cannot see all sides of a question, or who have no empathy with the “other side” and are rigid believers. Such conversations are guaranteed to raise your stress level and are futile. Actively avoid them.
  5. Challenge yourself to find calming, helpful ways of thinking. Our representative democracy has resisted extremes for well over two hundred years. While it (as with any governmental institution) has its vulnerabilities, it has evolved and survived. Remind yourself of its durability and of our responsibilities to improve and preserve it.