Stress, well-being, and mental health worry CSULB populations

Many CSULB  players cited stress as an issue facing students, faculty, and staff. Causes include: managing both full-time school and work schedules, long commute times, lack of parking, financial obligations, childcare expenses, and on-site childcare hours, as well as broader issues such as “climate crises, displacement, and an unstable employment landscape.”

Player Alfonso Garcia cautions that although stress in an inevitable part of the college experience, he suggests that we take a more hands-on approach to managing stress, which is known to have negative impacts on health.

REPLY: Alfonso Garcia "As we all know stress is a part of the college experience whether we like it or not. Students on daily deal with enormous amounts of stress so wouldn't it be smart for CSULB to be proactive and help promote a healthy mental life style amongst students?"

“As we all know stress is a part of the college experience whether we like it or not. Students on daily deal with enormous amounts of stress so wouldn’t it be smart for CSULB to be proactive and help promote a healthy mental life style amongst its students?” 

So what role should the university play to mitigate stress and how might they address this?

Several players offered their suggestions for a stress-free future:

  • A coordinated exam schedule (@elaine)
    “Having teachers in the same program collaborate with each other so we do not have to take exams on the same day is a great idea and a lot of stress and anxiety would be lifted off students. #BASW #SOCIAL JUSTICE”

REPLY: Elaine "Having teachers in the same program collaborate with each other so we do not have to take exams on the same day is a great idea and a lot of stress and anxiety would be lifted off students. #BASW #SOCIAL JUSTICE"

  • A community garden (@ahlam)
    “Community garden! where students and faculty de-stress and the different restaurants on campus use the prodicude!”

Positive Imagination: Ahlam "Community garden! where students and faculty de-stress and the different restaurants on campus use the prodicude!"

  • Peaceful study places and relaxation zones (@djulian1118)
    “Sustainability and transformation of the urbanization of the area to a more natural and stress-less environment. I would like to be able to have more peaceful study places and relaxation zones.”

Positive Imagination: DJulian1118 "Sustainability and transformation of the urbanization of the area to a more natural and stress-less environment. I would like to be able to have more peaceful study places and relaxation zones"

  • Sleep pods, therapy dogs, and yoga (@alfonso garcia)
    “Stress relief would something that excites me about the future. We can have things such as sleep pods or locations where we have therapy dogs on campus most of the time. Even things such as yoga would be helpful  with relieving stress.”

Positive Imagination: Alfonso Garcia "Stress relief would something that excites me about the future. We can have things such as sleep pods or locations where we have therapy dogs on campus most of the time. Even things such as yoga would be helpful with relieving stress."

  • Puppies (@julz) and a Petting Zoo (@mariana)
    “YEAR-ROUND access to puppies for levity and stress-relief #mentalhealth” and “We should have a petting zoo on campus. Students could care for the animals and it could be a great way to release stress.”

Positive Imagination: Julz "YEAR-ROUND access to puppies for levity and stress-relief #mentalhealth"

Positive Imagination: Mariana "We should have a petting zoo on campus. Students could care for the animals and it could be a great way to release stress."

  • Free tuition (@sandra)
    “Having free tuition can be an excellent decision that can help  student excel and prevent future stress.”

REPLY: Sandra "Having free tuition can be an excellent decision that can help student excel and prevent future stress."

  • Mental Health Days or Free Passes (@ Kat Schuster)
    “I would like to see student stress levels decline. If you’re enrolled in 5 classes and working, you’re probably not taking care of yourself and your health is suffering. What if we had free passes or mental health days? Maybe students would get 3-5 a year, excluding finals.”

Positive Imagination: "I would like to see student stress levels decline. If you're enrolled in 5 classes and working, you're probably not taking care of yourself and your health is suffering. What if we had free passes or mental health days? Maybe students would get 3-5 a year, excluding finals."

And what other ways might Long Beach students, faculty, and staff find to manage their well-being, stress levels, and mental health in 2030?

Advances in technology point to a future relying heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. In recent one study, it found that AI was “better than humans at predicting outcomes for those at risk of psychosis and depression.” Imagine if in 2030, CSULB offered its members free mental health checks. It could be embedded within school-issued laptops or wearable watches, which would routinely monitor your health, then provide proper interventions and suggest treatment on campus before it’s too late.

Or perhaps, the mental health treatment could take the form of an AI-based chatbot. Services like Woebot have emerged as a smart chatbot, or digital friend, who can track your moods through your text-based messages and offer mental health care based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Teaching life skills

College is more than getting a formal education. It can be the first time young adults live away from their parents, who are often the people who feed us, clothe us, and give us life direction. Far from home, many university students get their first taste of taking care of themselves and they may realize they lack the skills and knowledge to live an independent, productive life.

Several players of Imagine Beach 2030 have played cards expressing a desire for more life skills to be taught at schools. Player Zion Smith notes that this should be required curriculum even.

Zion Smith says "I would like to see 'practical life skills' as required curriculum. This can include financial literacy, interpersonal skills, coping skills, ethical decision making, conflict management, civic responsibility, etc. Skills employers desire and skills they need to flourish beyond CSULB."

It’s good to see CSULB gives its students an opportunity to meet with a peer nutrition counselor as a free health resource. Similar types of counseling and learning opportunities could be expanded at various educational institutions to satisfy the vocal demand for more practical education.

Player Walter Martinez Marconi suggests that “A new required class for ALL freshman will include topics such as personal finances, growing your own food and how to stay healthy both physically and mentally.”

Walter Martinez Marconi says "A new required class for ALL freshman will include topics such as personal finances, growing your own food and how to stay healthy both physical and mental. #GeneralEducation"

But as we prepare for 2030, we’ll need to make sure students are equipped to handle not just traditional everyday life skills, but also the emergent skills everyone is still mastering. Institute for the Future’s Future Skills highlights five performance zones that people will need to master in order to successfully transition from a education setting into making a living.

Player Mark suggested one way to bridge this gap between skills, experiences, and learning that might help us ensure that all people have the needed life skills for lifetime success. “How about credit for life experience?”

Mark says "How about credit for life experiences?"

This interesting idea could create a reward structure different from that which gives points and grades to academic achievement, and could place value on life achievement. What sorts of life experiences will be valued in the future? For example, as political and environmental uncertainty rises, could the act of lobbying one’s local representative to vote on a bill that favors renewable energy policy be awarded with school credit?

As students look to universities and other educational institutions as places to learn the skills and knowledge necessary for succeeding in life, teaching more life skills such as handling personal finances, having a healthy marriage, coping with mental health, or even how to think about the future could be added to student curriculum.

Future of climate action at the Beach

We kicked the game off with a Sustainability Challenge: 

What is the campus’ role in creating a sustainable world? From clean air and water to sustainable food systems and sustainable energy to climate change mitigation – there will be endless ways to innovate and impact the long-term health of our planet. What role could your discipline play in these efforts? What campus initiatives could have the most positive impact? What should students learn at CSULB to be in the best position to help create a more sustainable world? If there were no barriers, what should be CSULB’s goals for sustainability by 2030? #LB4Sustainability

Soooo many great responses came in (search for the #LB4Sustainability hashtag), imagining how in 2030 we’ll be eating differently (think meat grown in campus labs!), getting to campus differently (bike-shares and scooters) – even re-organizing administrative life around digital rather than paper-based bureaucracy).  

Perhaps most importantly, players like Faculty Doe see that it’s time to embed climate literacy in everything we do…today…so that by 2030 we have the leadership we need to drive climate action:


In 2030, climate change science and climate literacy are infused throughout the university curriculum. Students #learnbydoing to become experts and leaders in climate adaptation and resilience.

In 2030, many players like Kristy Nguyen note, surely sustainability will be a required GE course. And there’s no reason The Beach couldn’t be a leader in climate adaptation by 2030, writes Sneha Jaishankar:

Positive Imagination: Sneha Jaishankar "I can envision CSULB to be a breeding ground for young scientists, policy makers and economists on a path to being carbon neutral by 2030 #LB4Sustainability"

As Martha points out, this change can’t come from students alone. Faculty can’t wait for young people to raise the alarm; they will have to set the tone.


Students learn from example. Faculty and Staff have a major role as role models to set the stage on what should be accomplished for sustainability.

However…if climate action isn’t stepped up soon, many people, like Mahesh Dixit, are linking what’s happening today to a much darker, smokier, and uncertain future for students at The Beach:

Climate change-induced wildfires force many of our students to drop out due to lack of funds and housing. #climatechange @campushousing 

How might we repurpose parking lots in a future of autonomous vehicles?

CSULB has long been a commuter college, with massive parking lots providing 14,000 parking spaces to nearly 40,000 students, faculty and visitors. But what if we didn’t need all that parking space in 2030? If the advent of self-driving vehicles substantially reduced the number of cars that park  on campus, what could we use that space for?

Answers to this question abounded in the first few hours of gameplay.

One of the most radical responses came from DEBORAH GUILBEAU, who imagined “mini-cities” in former parking spaces, providing students with not just housing, but also stores and other services.

Super Interesting Positive Imagination: Deborah Guilbeau "build little mini cities in the open parking lots with housing and shops for students/staff/faculty"

More housing and amenities would keep more students on campus and, as JAMES FERREIRA asserts, could help students focus on their studies.
Not all students, of course, are able to be on campus full-time, with work and family commitments pulling them away from the school. WENDY suggested on-demand housing in the form of hotels as a way of meeting the needs of those students and their visiting families.

Positive Imagination: Wendy "It would be nice to have a hotel on campus! #Hotel"

(A hotel, JEANETTE JONES, pointed out, could be student-run, providing “experiential hands-on learning for the hospitality students.”)

Several people wanted to unpave the parking lots to get some green spaces for the students.

Super Interesting, Positive Imagination: Parking & Transportation "Replacing parking lots with organic gardens. #DAF #Parking #Sustainability"

(In fact, NANCY SL,  HOLLI and MARTY STAGG pointed out that the campus could be more green by creating rooftop and vertical gardens, as a way of improving personal and planetary well-being.)

In Response To: "Use roofs as surfaces for green roofs. We could grow food and maybe even develop an urban agriculture degree program! #LB4Sustainability REPLY: Marty Stagg "Multiple benefits of green roof tech-it reduces the Heat Island Effect, puts green space into direct contact with building tenets, and increases oxygen!"

Finally, JOHN flipped the idea of repurposing CSULB parking lots on its head, suggesting that CSULB use surrounding cities’ vacant parking lots as new CSULB sites, to bring learning to students and non-students alike, wherever they are!

Positive Imagination: John "Self-driving transportation will free up parking lot land on campus and throughout the Los Angeles area. We can use these areas to transform our university. With technology changing so quickly, using some of these areas for life-long learning seems like a good idea."

Thinking about technology’s role in Beach 2030

Less than two hours into Beach 2030, and one early theme we’re seeing is a lot of diverse speculation on how CSULB will adapt to emerging technological trends.

Ranje Torres and Bo Roe imagine a future where virtual assistants play a larger role in supporting students and faculty. Services like Crystalknows.com do this today by helping people understand how to connect with new contacts and their diverse communication styles.

Positive Imagination card by player Ranjie Torres that says "I'm seeing virtual assistants as a norm in every room on campus"

Reply: Bo Roe "Imagine a world where virtual assistance merge with virtual learning--assistance provide not only daily task assistance, but are fundamental partners in learning. Virtual TA... virtual adjunct professor..."

Elena Jiminez kicked off a much-debated thread about whether there’s already too much technology in our lives, and if we shouldn’t start planning technology detox weeks to give people a break from all the devices in their lives. Her post features several signals of these kinds of detoxes being experimented with in other venues. Signals from the real world are a great way to bolster your argument and enrich the conversation.

Positive Imagination: Elena Jimenez "Concerned about technology getting in the way of how students community? Let's have a tech-free week, focus on our person to person communication. #TechnologyCampus" Add a signal, plus 5 points. Slate.com, Digitaldetox.org, fortune.com, techlearning.com

REPLY: Dr. JD "I love this idea! I think we also cannot deny the students of 2030 will have the expectation to be engaged in learning with technology. I'd love to see us focus on how we can humanize education with technology #OnlineCSULB"

Eliza Easdale contributed an even more nuanced perspective to the debate on technology, wondering how we will regulate emerging technologies with no historic precedent.

Shadow Imagination: Eliza Easdale "New Technologies will come out faster than the legal system may be able to handle, which could lead to unchecked abuses of them in the future."

How do we “humanize” technology, and what role can CSULB play in shaping this future between now and 2030? Let’s dive even deeper into this as Beach 2030 continues.

Off to a sprint! Over 1400 ideas already

Hello Imagine Beach 2030 community!!!!

In less than 90 minutes we’ve already reached 0ver 600 players and more than 1400 ideas!

It’s clear the Beach’s future has many possible paths that you are all tackling.

We’ve seen conversations on everything from healthcare and wellbeing to interesting uses of space, ethical use of technology, making use of a diverse community, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Keep those ideas coming! And keep challenging yourselves to imagine new futures that you haven’t thought of yet!

 

 

 

And we’re off!

Imagine BEACH 2030 has officially launched! Join in the conversation at imaginebeach2030.org and keep checking back here for live commentary and insights about the ideas being shared and built on the Imagine BEACH 2030 platform.

And remember, Imagine BEACH 2030 is only open for 40 hours—the platform stops accepting new ideas at 11:59pm on Thursday, November 15th—so jump in and add your voice now!

 

 

Countdown to Imagine BEACH 2030!

What if, in just two days, we could collectively reimagine the future of CSULB?

On November 14 -15, 2018, CSULB faculty, staff, students, alumni, and Long Beach neighbors will take a trip to the future. Everyone is invited.

We’re all going to BEACH 2030. It’s a place where imagination and learning have no barriers. It’s powered by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, increased diversity, collective action, creativity …
and you!

This online event will inspire you to think differently about your own future — and become a part of our collective drive to make CSULB a vibrant institution of the future.

Join us!

See the future. Imagine the possibilities. Get ready for a new world.