Major: Psychology with an education minor
Her Campus (HC): Can you tell us about what RENEW is and what resources it offers to students on campus?
Evan Albury (EA): RENEW stands for Realizing Everyone’s Need for Emotional Wellness. We’re a peer-education group that is sponsored by the University Counseling Center, which means we’re completely free (so is the Counseling Center)! We offer individual sessions with students and group presentations for FIG classes, sororities, club meetings, etc. During these, we offer a few topics to focus on: Stress Management, Time Management, Healthy Relationships, Study Skills, and Adjusting to College. We also do tabling events with other organizations. These can be for a health day where we would have a booth alongside NAMI and CHAW for example, but we also host events with the Counseling Center such as Be Happy or Stress Busters. These full-day events usually happen during finals week and are a way for students to take a break from studying by petting therapy dogs, getting free massages, free food and doing activities that can help with relaxation.
HC: Elaborate on what your role is in RENEW.
EA: I joined RENEW as a freshman and was a general member for two years. That entailed advocating for emotional wellness and the Counseling Center and going to tabling events, presentations and individual sessions. At the end of last spring, I was elected President of RENEW. As President, I lead team-building efforts alongside my executive board to promote diversity, openness and collaboration among a 50-member general body. I preside over general body and executive board meetings and host interviews for new member applicants and participate in deliberation regarding applicants.
HC: How did you find out about RENEW and get involved in the organization?
EA: I heard about RENEW from my FIG leader. RENEW was an organization she wasn’t currently involved with, but thought would be a good fit for me!
HC: What do you believe is the most important service RENEW offers that students should take advantage of?
EA: I think everything RENEW offers is important and is useful for different people at different times. Say you’re a freshman and are having a hard time using your new-found free time wisely. RENEW would be great because we could have an individual session with that student giving them the skills to manage their time. On the other hand, say you’re a UROP leader and your students need help managing stress because their first time being involved with research is more than they expected. RENEW could come in and have a presentation on stress management geared towards research and the effects of these new responsibilities on stress.
HC: What is the biggest lesson you have learned through your role in RENEW?
EA: RENEW has taught me many things including that FSU is a huge campus with a wide variety of students and that we need to be open and considerate of everyone. RENEW has allowed me the opportunity to learn something from each person I meet in RENEW and during individual sessions. RENEW is mixed of many personalities and each person that comes through has a different life story that helps me to become a better person. And the same goes for the students we peer-mentor, even though we are providing the tools and information I still learn something from each person. So, RENEW has taught me to always keep an open mind, try to learn something every day, and to know on this huge campus I have found a place that makes it feel a little smaller.
HC: Are you involved in other organizations on campus?
EA: I am a member of Psi Chi, Phi Beta Kappa, NAMI, and volunteer with the Animal Therapy Program at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH). I am also highly involved with my research lab in the Psychology Department where I am currently conducting my Honors Thesis.
HC: How do you think getting involved in RENEW and other on-campus activities help to prepare you for your future career and life?
EA: Everything I do, I do because it has a purpose. My goal is to attend graduate school to work towards my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and RENEW has helped me with that. Along with getting skills working as a peer-educator and public speaker, I have used many of RENEW’s tools to help manage my own stress and time. RENEW has also led me towards strong, empowering leaders on campus that are trying to help students to the best of their abilities. I was raised to give back to my community, and I think through RENEW I have been able to not only give back to FSU but to make a real difference in the topic of emotional wellness. Some tangible skills RENEW has taught me include public speaking skills, leadership skills specific to emotional wellness, and how to effectively provide members with the skills to help their peers.
HC: What advice would you give new students at FSU in terms of adjusting to college life and getting involved?
EA: I would tell students to get involved as much as they can! It doesn’t hurt to try out 50 clubs freshman year, because you don’t need to stick to all of them. Book a session with RENEW or the Counseling Center. We both offer free services that most students don’t utilize, and just seeing us for an hour to talk about something may change many things for them in the long run. Go to the leach for group exercise classes – this is a great way to release endorphins and if you’re an active person you may meet friends through this. And lastly just have fun because these four years go by in the blink of an eye and freshmen year will probably be your least busy, so make the most of it!
All photos courtesy of Evan Albury.