Published: Nov. 28, 2023

Shubham Sapkota, researcher at the Renée Crown Wellness Institute, to share insights into and lessons from the Mindful Campus Program

A mindful campus is a healthier campus, experts at the Renée Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder contend. One of them will make that case in a public presentation next week.

Shubham Sapkota, a research associate at Crown, will give a talk titled “Be mindful through the Mindful Campus Program,” on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. via Zoom. The event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required at this link.

Sapkota’s presentation will give an overview of the work done by the Renée Crown Wellness Institute at CU Boulder, specifically on Crown's Mindful Campus Program. The event is sponsored by Be Well, the College of Arts and Sciences' wellness initiative, and is part of its regular Let’s CU Well series of programs.

Shubham Sapkota

Shubham Sapkota, a research associate in the Renée Crown Wellness Institute, will give a talk titled “Be mindful through the Mindful Campus Program” on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. via Zoom.

Sapkota, a native of Kathmandu, Nepal, earned a doctorate in religion and theology through the Joint Doctoral Program in the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology. His PhD work focused on how to bring Buddhist meditation practices and principles in the spheres of academics, pedagogy and community engagement.

The Mindful Campus Program includes an eight-week series in mindfulness launched at CU Boulder in 2021 to support the well-being of students and was designed, in part, by students themselves. As experts at Crown have emphasized, the program is not just geared toward students; they are involved in its creation.

This approach “allows the voices of young people to be central and guiding within the research process,” Sona Dimidjian, director of the Renée Crown Wellness Institute and a professor of psychology and neuroscience, said last year.

The program is now implemented across CU Boulder and continues to seek participants to go through a mindfulness journey that complements life at CU. 

Crown is an interdisciplinary institute that focuses on youth education, with mindfulness as a crucial tool that, the institute says, “enables holistic learning and wellbeing” for the university community. Leaders at CU Boulder and beyond have argued that the effort is of critical importance.

Philip Distefano, CU Boulder chancellor, states that mental health is a growing concern: “Mental health and wellness are increasingly a critical topic in K-12 classrooms and college campuses across the country. It's imperative that we collectively create solutions to promote wellness. The Renée Crown Wellness Institute will conduct groundbreaking research relevant to wellness, starting as early as possible in development and continuing through college.”

If you go
Who: Shubham Sapkota, research associate, Renée Crown Wellness Institute

What: Be Mindful through the Mindful Campus Program

When: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m.

Where: Zoom–This online workshop is available to CU students, employees and community members. Please register here.

Why: To support a culture of care and wellness

Rob Anderson, superintendent of the Boulder Valley School District, has heralded the Crown Institute’s work. “We have no doubt that the breakthrough developed at Crown will have a profound impact on the community we all have the honor to serve.”

Mindful Campus has gained traction just as many sources of data suggest that such initiatives are sorely needed. Recent research finds that anxiety and depression among students have risen steadily during the last eight years, and students of color have experienced the steepest increase.

Researchers from Boston University analyzed surveys of 350,000 students from more than 300 campuses between 2013 and 2021. Their meta-study, like other smaller studies, found students’ rates of depression and anxiety had more than doubled in eight years, rising by 135% and 110% respectively.

Additionally, research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that mental-health challenges are worse among high school students who perceived racism. The study concluded that understanding “how negative health outcomes are associated with student experiences of racism can guide training for staff and students to promote cultural awareness and anti-racist and inclusivity interventions, which are critical for promoting safe school environments for all students.”

Meanwhile, students’ demand for psychological counseling has far outstripped the availability of resources. These are national trends, but officials note that they are reflected among CU Boulder students, too.

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