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By Slater Smith
“There shouldn’t be a student on campus that isn’t familiar with every outlet available to them,” said Sherry Hopkins, the third and final candidate for program manager of the Wholeness Center, on July 31 to a Zoom audience of three students and the Pilot.
Hopkins grew up south of Dallas, Texas and was raised as a Christian Scientist. She graduated from Principia College in 1999 with a major in theatre before receiving a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She is a licensed physical therapist in the state of Texas.
Hopkins cited her familiarity to Principia as an especially strong aspect of her candidacy. “Being an alumni helps me because I’m very familiar with the campus life and the culture. I love Principia. I have a strong desire to see it grow and thrive.”
Christian Science is very much a part of her foundation and identity, said Hopkins. “I try to approach every aspect of my life from a place of loving one another, figuring out how I can be the best version of myself, best Christian Scientist, and most loving neighbor.”
Hopkins views the Wholeness Center as a resource to help students “determine in which way they want to grow.” While she is open to discussing spirituality and Christian Science with students, she would refer them to a Christian Science practitioner for Christian Science treatment.
“My job is to listen and to investigate a person’s experience. To understand who you are and help you understand who you are,” she said.
Beyond the current parameters of the Wholeness Center, Hopkins is also interested in implementing a peer counseling program to allow students to further support each other.
“I love the idea of developing a peer ed and peer counseling program at Prin,” she said. “Any student would benefit from experience with that.”
Hopkins’ other ideas for the Wholeness Center include a safe place for survivors and a suicide hotline.
“One of the things on the proposal that needs to be implemented quickly is some sort of safe place, suicide hotline. Prin is a remote area. There needs to be some sort of regular safe place that survivors can come to to feel seen, heard, and safe,” she said.
When asked how she would attract students to the Wholeness Center and its resources, Hopkins stated that the new resources “need to address the issues which are most important to students.”
She proposed the idea of sending out a poll to students to get a sense of which avenues of the program they would be most open to.
In an effort to make students more aware of the center Hopkins hopes that “whoever gets the position will work closely with the Office of Student Life and other groups on campus.”
“The best way the center can integrate itself,” Hopkins said, “is by participating in activities the school already has.”
If chosen for the position, she “would love to sit in on meetings or be an active participant” in various groups around campus, said Hopkins.
Hopkins ended the forum by emphasizing the importance of getting to know students individually and familiarizing them with available resources, counselors, and each other’s experiences. “Meeting the students is imperative,” she said.
“If the students are feeling isolated, disconnected, or unsatisfied with their experience, that is going to hurt the college as a whole.”
Featured Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash