DePaul Profile: Kate Lower

It’s no surprise that we have talented and caring individuals who contribute to the DePaul community. Within the Division of Student Affairs, members of various departments work to fulfill the university’s collective mission of supporting students. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kate Lower, one of DePaul’s dedicated staff members -- and one of my personal favorite people.

Photo courtesy of DePaul Office of HPW

"What is the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness?"

As a staff member in the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, Kate explained a little about the function of the office. HPW initiatives range from counseling students in their different stages of alcohol abuse recovery all the way to preventing sexual and relationship violence.

On recovery programs:

According to Kate, “collegiate recovery communities are spreading across the country.” The confidential nature of these safe spaces, combined with the individual support of students makes DePaul’s program so effective. “I tell students to come as they are,” says Kate. Amazingly, almost 95% in the programs do not relapse.

What is your role?

“We have four staff and eight students in the office. We all wear different hats. I do programming and prevention work on alcohol and drug abuse. A lot of this is accomplished by providing education for students. My goal is to support students and help them figure out what ‘help’ looks like to them.”

How does this tie into the idea of Take Care DePaul?

“We find out how students impact the community and help them to take care of themselves.”

Are there any upcoming HPW programs or initiatives you would like to promote?

Many DePaul students look forward to Fest, which is on May 25th this year. While concerts are intended to be fun, self-harm has the potential to go up at these types of events.

“During Fest, we will have a tent for students to chill and play lawn games in a safe setting,” says Kate. “Having programs like these have been shown to reduce incidents.”


Photo found here 

Obviously, your job involves responding to a lot of very serious and dark issues. How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated?

“Burnout is real. So much of what we’re talking about is heavy cultural issues.” The phrase ‘self-care’ has become a buzzword that has, “started becoming a privilege when it is a necessity.” For example, getting a manicure, besides not being affordable for many people, is also not necessarily as helpful of a form of self-care as we promote. What works for one person, may not work for another.

“Self-awareness is key. What’s really important is knowing the intention,” says Kate. “Find ways to check in with yourself: mind, body, and spirit.”

Kate Lower is an alcohol and substance abuse prevention specialist in the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness and a dance/movement therapist.

The Office of Health Promotion and Wellness is located in the Lincoln Park Student Center, Suite 302.