Now home to the Counseling Center, the Student Assistance Center (SAC) sits on the hill between the Center for Communication and Business (CCB) and the Caruso School of Law. This new location has allowed the Counseling Center to serve its greatest number of students to date from all Pepperdine schools. File photo
After its recent move to the Student Assistance Center (SAC) in early September, the Counseling Center served its greatest number of students since it opened.
The new facility has five additional office spaces for individual counseling sessions. The location is optimal for serving students from the Drescher Graduate Campus and the Caruso School of Law. Stacey Lee, the Health, Wellness and Resilience coordinator, credited the increase in the number of students visiting the Counseling Center to the new location’s ability to reach different populations.
“There is an increase in demand for mental health services at Pepperdine and other colleges,” Director of the Counseling Center Nivla Fitzpatrick said. “We see the addition of office space as better equipping us to meet the needs of the students here who need support. It really allows us to care for more students.”
As supposed to separating the various student resources, the SAC now puts student resources such as the Health Center, Office of Student Accessibility, and Housing and Residence Life in one building. Fitzpatrick commented how in the past, if a student at the Health Center needed emotional support, it took counselors 15 minutes to arrive.
“Specifically with the Health Center, the proximity of those offices, I think, is really important for students [because] in that moment, we both need to be working with that student,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s very easy for our provider to go from one office to another. It’s nice being able to be nearby to the campus partners with whom we collaborate.”
Compared to its previous location, the Counseling Center is farther from Main Campus and requires walking up several flights of stairs. However, the number of students who visit the center has not lessened because of the distance, according to Fitzpatrick.
“I think they do acknowledge that students have to be more careful about scheduling their appointments because they have to take a shuttle, or if they’re walking down from George Page or up from the first-year halls, they would need to allot more time for that,” Lee said. “Judging by the numbers, I think that those who are interested in pursuing counseling and want to continue with the center have been able to make time to do that.”
The Counseling Center hosts several events to engage with students and raise awareness for the services it offers. In February, it will be having Mental Health Screening Day, focusing on alcohol and drugs. Students can fill out a survey and go over their responses with a counselor over a meal.
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