Counseling centers team up to create Renew Counseling Center

Renew counseling center
Counseling centers combined to create the Renew Counseling Center, located on the first floor of the Webster Commons. (Photo by Stephany Reyes)

By Ronna Fisher

This year the counseling center has teamed up with LIFE Counseling Center, a ministry of SNU’s Graduate Program, that works with the local community. The counseling center is one of many services that SNU is able to offer its students. The restructured counseling center will now be called Renew.

Through a year’s worth of planning, dreaming and discussion, the two centers decided to merge and expand their services. They will offer more hours, a greater variety of therapists and a training site for students in the SNU graduate counseling program. The counseling center will also be able to better reach more specific needs of patrons. The psychology department, SNU counseling center, LIFE and former VP for student development, Scott Strawn, were all a part of the dialogue and planning for the partnership.

Kimberly Campbell, Director of Renew, said, “Renew’s mission is to offer the opportunity for clients to pursue wholeness, healing, support and growth. We are blessed to have retained all of the staff from the SNU Counseling Center and to have brought over nearly all of the LIFE staff. We have what I believe to be an all-star team.”

Sallye Siems will now be the new full-time dedicated administrative support. All calls and walk-ins will talk to her first. Joe Shallen is the new assistant director. His work at both LIFE and the SNU Counseling Center for over five years has been very beneficial in this transition.

There have been small challenges, however. The daily processes of both centers have had to be refined as the groups had different systems and processes.

“So far the benefits have seriously outweighed any challenges we have faced,”  Campbell said.

The new center can be found on the first floor of Webster Commons. The space there was being underutilized, but is now being used to its full capacity. The entrance is on the east side of the Commons building, across from the tennis courts. Future plans include a more permanent entrance with an awning, landscaping and lighting.

“We were grateful that SGA, Marian Redwine, the Arrow, Echo, and Dr. Kyzer were willing to enter into conversations regarding their willingness to make some changes in their spaces and location,”  Campbell said. “In the end, I believe we all won, getting spaces and locations that will better serve our functions.”

Renew’s website (snu.edu/counseling-center) claim they address issues such as self-esteem, depression, relationship conflicts, family struggles, identity issues, grief, drug and/or alcohol use, anger, crisis, pregnancy-crisis, divorce and many more.

“I have been doing this work for over 14 years on this campus, and have been moved, challenged and blessed by the amazing work students have done to create beauty out of difficult and painful situations and circumstances,” Campbell said. “It has been a privilege to be a part of their journey.”

When asked, many students will recommend the counseling center. It is not uncommon for students who feel overwhelmed, stressed out or put too much pressure on themselves to succeed to find a listening ear at the counseling center.

“I really benefited from [the counseling center],”  junior Shelby Wilson said. “It is a safe place to talk about your life, the struggles and the great times. I would say to go. Even if you don’t think you need to go, you might get more out of it than you would expect.”

Renew is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Students can walk in and schedule appointments. Students can also call 717-6200 or go to my.snu.edu to schedule an appointment and fill out paperwork at any time. Students still get six sessions each year at no additional cost. Sessions seven through 12 are $5 and 12 or more are $10 each.

Campbell emphasized the affordability of the sessions, saying “Counseling services will never be this affordable again in students’ lives.”

What do you think?