Thursday, January 9 • 10:45am - 11:45am
Supporting the Well-Being of George Mason University Student Activists

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Bjornsen-Ramig and Kissinger (2018) affirmed that student involvement in the intense arena of advocacy/organizing can shape student mental health and overall wellness. Yet, little is still known about how best to serve student advocates and organizers. Given this gap in our understanding, we undertook a research effort to unpack a distinct element of this experience: social justice and human rights (SJHR) student activist burnout. At this symposium, we present a portion of a larger project exploring the well-being of SJHR student activists, for which we conducted interviews with 14 SJHR student activists at George Mason University (GMU).

Among other findings, the interviews revealed that (a) there is prevalence of burnout among the student activists that has affected their bodies and their activism, and each has their own burnout response and (b) there exists a need for more institutional training on how to cope with activist burnout. Given the passion for positive social change student activists possess, as educators committed to holistic student development, we must not only help shepherd students into an engaged citizenry, but we must also care for their total well-being. In this presentation, we will unpack the study findings and discuss recommendations for practice at GMU.

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Graziella McCarron, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Leadership Studies, School of Integrative Studies

Cher Weixia Chen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, International Studies, Legal Studies, and Social Justice and Human Rights, School of Integrative Studies

Thursday January 9, 2020 10:45am - 11:45am
Johnson Center, Room E

Attendees (8)