GREELEY — The Colorado Department of Higher Education has recognized Aims Community College with both the Hunger Free and Healthy Minds Campus designations.
This is the second year that Aims has received the Hunger Free designation and the first time it has been designated a Healthy Minds Campus. The designations come because Aims students at Greeley, Windsor, Fort Lupton and Loveland campuses have access to mental health and food-security programs.
Aims provides an array of services that help remove barriers to academic success. Kathryn Bowker, a counselor on the Fort Lupton campus, said that academics isn’t why students often stop attending college. “Students don’t usually drop out because of academic issues. We’ve seen that it’s usually related to a mental health issue, having to work more to afford things like rent or food, or another basic need that needs to be addressed.”
Aims students can access counseling sessions with licensed therapists at Aims.
“Aims students can access free therapy sessions through BetterMynd, a video-based teletherapy provider offering expanded hours. Students are encouraged to use the TalkCampus app, an online peer support community providing real-time connections with trained peers and professional staff. The self-guided You@Aims app offers a comprehensive approach to well-being that helps students build grit and resilience,” the college said in a press statement.
The need for counseling services on campus is growing. There was an 82% increase in counseling service use at Aims from 2020 to 2022, a trend seen nationwide. The American College Health Association reported that about 78% of college students reported high or moderate stress within the last 30 days.
“It should be easy to reach out for mental health help, but you know, we have all of these internalized thought processes and stigmas about reaching out for help,” Bowker said. We want to eliminate some of the barriers that come with that.”
To achieve the hunger designation, Aims makes available Arty’s Pantry, an on-campus food and supply pantry that opened in 2018. It provides any enrolled Aims student with groceries, personal hygiene products and school supplies, no questions asked. Staff, faculty and community members fund the pantry.
The college also provides access to the Weld Food Bank food truck and helps students apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.