Beyond regular child care programs, we have asked Bright Horizons to look at needs during evenings and weekends, over the summer, during holidays and unanticipated closings, when children are ill, or when other emergency short-term care is needed.
While some of the recommendations in this report have already been acted upon or can be pursued without further work on our part, there are many other recommendations that either are awaiting additional information (e.g., from our survey and from the Bright Horizons child care assessment) or require additional analysis. This is the work we will do over the summer and when the task force reconvenes in the fall.
In coming weeks we will meet with the McCosh Auxiliary and seek the guidance of others on the topics covered in this report, on the challenges that await us this summer, and on other topics that we might add to our already full agenda. One topic that has come up on several occasions involves sleep. Is there anything we can or should do to encourage or make it possible for members of our community to get appropriate amounts of it? Are there proposals that we should resist (e.g., 24-hour study space) because they would take us in the wrong direction? Another topic that emerges frequently is stress. We know at least one university has a stress management room at its counseling center with handouts on relaxation and breathing exercises and relaxation tapes to provide members of that community with basic guidance and support. Princeton has recently taken a step in this direction with support from the McCosh Auxiliary in the Janet C. Morgan library, a health education resource center that provides information on a variety of topics, including stress reduction. Should we consider even larger steps designed to change elements of our culture that help to produce excessive stress in the first place? We know that there are students and others who have been thinking about possible non-credit courses to provide students with skills in decision making, time management, stress and anger management, conflict resolution, nutrition, self-esteem building, interpersonal relations, and other areas that can contribute to healthy lifestyles and relationships. We are confident that there are other ideas we have not yet heard, and we encourage all members of the community to send their thoughts and suggestions to our website or contact us directly. Our names are listed below.
Some members of the community have suggested that after we have completed our final report, the University would be well served by having a group composed as we are of students, faculty, and staff that would focus continuing attention on issues related to health and well being; monitor the impact of steps that are taken at our recommendation; identify additional steps that might be helpful; and serve as a continuing repository for suggestions, questions, and concerns. We think there is merit in this suggestion, as one way of ensuring that the principles we proposed in our January report—and try to act on in this report—continue to guide the University in its consideration of issues related to health and well being.
April 30, 2004