Q & A: Danielle Lico, Executive Director of Campus Health and Wellness in Annapolis
October 29, 2018 | By Kimberly Uslin
Danielle Lico was recently hired as the Executive Director of Campus Health and Wellness on St. John’s Annapolis campus.
What brought you to St. John’s?
I’ve worked in student affairs for over 20 years, and I was at a point in my career where I was looking for a new opportunity. I was looking for an experience that was going to be in a smaller setting, where I would have the opportunity to have an increased level of direct student contact.
I had a colleague whose son applied to go to school here. I didn’t fully understand what a Great Books program was, so I learned a lot about that in the application and interview process for this position. This seemed like a great opportunity to take my professional experience and bring it to an institution that was very, very different and had a unique perspective on education.
What is your vision for the health and wellness of St. John’s students?
A lot has changed in the perspective of student wellness over the past 20 years. The approach now is one that looks at the student as a whole entity, as opposed to a person who has physical health needs and mental health needs. In a lot of ways, seeking care for mental health and physical health happens as a reaction to a problem. You don’t feel well, so you go to the doctor. You’re having anxiety, so you go to see a counselor. [But] I think a lot of the progress that has been made in looking at health as an integrated process is about preventative health. So what is it that we can do as a St. John’s community to support students, and the community more broadly, in a proactive rather than a reactive way?
For example, one of the things that I’m learning a lot about is the stress associated with the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior essays. So how can we look at those incredibly important aspects of the Program and figure out ways to make students as healthy as possible—spiritually, mentally, and physically—before they go into those processes?
What are some things college students should be doing to improve their health?
Paying attention to nutrition, making sure that you’re eating meals that are healthy—and that you’re eating in the first place. And I’m not sure people pay close enough attention to sleep. Sleep helps your brain encode memory, and it’s going to help you be more successful in seminar. All-nighters are not going to serve you well in the long run.
What do you want students to know about your position?
Students should feel free to come to talk to me about any sort of wellness question, concern, or suggestion that they may have. More broadly, I want to be available for students as a resource. If they are not comfortable talking to somebody about something, they can always come in and talk to me. My office is in Campbell 5. Feel free to come knock on the door.
Part of your position is working with the college’s Title IX policy. Can you give a brief explanation of that?
Essentially, Title IX is a federal regulation that requires institutions not to discriminate on the basis of sex. Historically, it has been thought of as sports-related, but it has come to mean much more than that and includes gender-based discrimination, sex discrimination, and sexual violence. Broadly, Title IX is a piece of civil rights legislation that focuses on sex and gender equality in education. It’s the responsibility of somebody in a position like mine to take a broader view of the systems that are in place to [offer] support and ensure that we have a policy that reflects the diversity of our campus community and is responsive to the needs of that community.
Anything else you want students to know?
I’m on Twitter @kermitdc, where I post things about wellness and recovery. Every once in a while I’ll also post a cute dog pic or something funny.