Paula Pineda

A recent Yale College Council report sheds light on how often students use the Good Life Center and how they perceive its impact on student wellness.

Since the Good Life Center opened in September 2018 in Silliman College, it has become a popular destination among the array of offerings that aim to increase the pursuit of holistic health and happiness on campus. The YCC report, which was published at the beginning of the spring 2020 semester, was part of a mid-year review of “flagship achievements from the Fall 2019 Semester.” Assembled by Janie Wu ’22 and Angelreana Choi ’23, the report investigated the effectiveness of the space through analysis of student usage patterns and perceived impact on personal wellness.

“I think it’s fantastic that in barely over a year, we’ve had almost 50 percent of students surveyed report that they’ve visited and used the Good Life Center,” said GLC founder and Head of Silliman College Laurie Santos in an interview with the News. “This is an incredible success for a new resource on campus and speaks to the fact that students want more resources related to mental health and well-being.”

Santos was referencing the report’s finding that 48.58 percent of survey respondents said they had utilized the Good Life Center since its opening. The survey also found that students living in residential colleges nearest to Silliman, like Berkeley and Timothy Dwight, demonstrated higher engagement with the wellness hub. Meanwhile, students living in residential colleges farther away — like Pauli Murray, Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Edwards colleges — reported fewer visits to the center.

GLC intern Annie Tarte ’20 noted that the fact that the GLC does not have a street entrance could also be a hindrance.

“The fact that it is tucked away in Silliman College causes some confusion — a lot of students think it is only for Silliman students, or it is inconvenient for them to get into Silliman and try to find it in a corner on the fourth floor.”

Of the students who visited the GLC, 88.79 percent did so to “simply hang out in the space compared to utilizing other services.” This is not due to a lack of services or interest, but rather because of programming and space limitations, according to the report.

GLC intern Sarah Geach ’20 believes that students do not necessarily have to utilize GLC services to benefit from the space. She said that the center is “designed to be used as a place for rest and inspiration.”

“If people happen to use it more for rest than for an activity, I think that’s fine,” Geach wrote in an email.

The YCC report recommended the Good Life Center engage in more dialogue with the Yale student body. In interviews with the News, many on the GLC team concurred. Geach said students should make suggestions for potential offerings at the center if they are not currently using its services.

“There is also a suggestions box in the GLC Lounge where students can submit anonymous feedback/suggestions if they’re not comfortable emailing me directly. I love hearing from you all!” said GLC Founding Director Tracy George.

As new developments such as the Schwarzman Center and its possible wellness space come to be, the YCC report advised continued dialogue between the Good Life Center and students to progress both its initiatives and the space itself.

The Good Life Center is supported by Yale Well, a university-wide initiative to promote wellness in students’ lives.

Brooke Alviar | brooke.alviar@yale.edu