USC Hillel Engages Students at a

Critical Time in Their Lives

The Bradley Sonnenberg Wellness Initiative

USC Hillel is committed to enhancing student well-being and cultivating a healthy community through our Bradley Sonnenberg Wellness Initiative. The initiative focuses on physical and mental health programs, including one-on-one professional counseling as well as peer-to-peer support. This ensures that any student who comes to Hillel, regardless of religious identity, receives services to meet their needs, with an eventual goal of developing a roadmap to healthier experiences. As part of our physical wellness programming, USC Hillel offers weekly yoga, hiking and intramural sports.

 

In a recent study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 73 percent of students on college campuses living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis, but nearly half reported that no one at the school knew about their crisis. The Bradley Sonnenberg Wellness Initiative partners with on-campus resources to create counseling outside the clinical setting.

 

The Wellness Initiative at USC Hillel began in 2015 under the leadership of former campus director Bailey London, who had recently supported a student through severe depression. The students who led the initiative the inaugural year focused on ending the stigma of discussing mental health publicly and creating physical wellness. Early programs included “ShalOM Yoga,” “Hiking with Hillel,” and a campus-wide Wellness Fair. Four years later, Wellness has been formalized as a core program pillar at USC Hillel, and the work has grown to include staff trainings and ongoing wellness programs that include mindfulness meditation, art therapy, and physical activity. The Bradley Sonnenberg Wellness Initiative professionalized and grew the incredibly valuable work that was started informally by a small group of committed students. The initiative works in collaboration with Office of Wellness and Crisis Intervention, under the leadership of Vice Provost Varun Soni.

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USC Hillel’s Bradley Sonnenberg Wellness Initiative has transcended limitations and has become an interactive online presence dedicated to maintaining USC’s thriving Jewish community. To combat feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and to help students build coping skills, USC Hillel is particularly proud to continue providing:

  • Student Wellness Sessions 

  • Pre-recorded online workout and wellness classes

  • Virtual Telehealth counseling for students in residence in California

The initiative is possible only through the generous support of Glenn and Andrea Sonnenberg, in memory of their son,

along with a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

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