By Carly Buechler | Cal State LA News Service
Awardees show exceptional dedication to inner well-being
Cal State LA President William A. Covino and First Lady Debbie Covino presented Mind Matters Champion awards on Dec. 11 for outstanding efforts in promoting inner well-being on campus.
The three awardees—student Dylan Gunaratne, faculty member Kristen Hourigan and staff member Anna Lovoy—were nominated by members of the University community. This is the first year of the awards, which recognize students, faculty and staff who show exceptional and innovative dedication to the inner well-being of others.
“They are really helping us with our strategic priority to make Cal State LA a welcoming and inclusive campus,” the President said of the awardees.
The First Lady noted that the recipients have displayed behavior “above and beyond the call of duty.”
Gunaratne founded the Cal State LA chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. With his leadership, the group organized #StigmaFree, an event that focused on destigmatizing mental health issues. During the fall semester, Gunaratne facilitated biweekly Resilience Circles. These sessions allowed students to come together in an open and supportive forum to discuss topics such as stress management, social isolation and relationship difficulties.
As a first-year faculty member, Hourigan quickly established herself as a valuable resource for students in need of emotional support. At the start of the semester, she created an anonymous survey for her students called “Fear in the Classroom,” which enabled her to better understand the fears and anxieties students feel regarding classes. She completed the Mental Health First Aid training and proudly serves the campus community as a Well-Being Ambassador with her emotional support dog, Prada.
Lovoy is a part of the Student Loan Services and Collections team, which works with students regarding their financial situations. This is a line of work that can cause stress and anxiety among students. But Lovoy uses her Mental Health First Aid training to identify students in distress and deal with them in an empathetic manner. Her compassion has helped reassure students, a number of whom have left with a smile after working with her.
Photo: Left to right, President William A. Covino, student Dylan Gunaratne, staff member Anna Lovoy and First Lady Debbie Covino. Kristen Hourigan was not present when the awards were announced. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA).
# # #
California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.