How Counseling Services Has Grown Over the Years: Uwill, Wellness Advisors, and the Reflection Room

Veronica Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief

The past two years of living through a pandemic have taken a hit on a lot of organizations. Understaffing, waitlists, and financial struggles are not unique experiences with the adaptations everyone has made with COVID-19, and the R-MC Counseling Services center struggled with these changes as well. Despite these hardships, counseling services have used the past two years to revamp their programs and expand in more ways than one. With the new partnership with Uwill Telehealth services and the growing Wellness Advisors program, our counseling services have developed a more inclusive and accessible approach to counseling.

On January 3, R-MC counseling services director Beth Schubert sent out an email titled “Introducing additional counseling resources for RMC students.” This email kickstarted the beginning of Randolph-Macon’s partnership with Uwill and allowed students to begin setting up their accounts and appointments.

“The overall rating has been consistently over 9 out of 10,” said Schubert. After each appointment, students are prompted with a short survey to assess their satisfaction. Schubert has access to these ratings to ensure Uwill is effective and beneficial for us to continue.

This was a big step forward for our counseling center. Even before the pandemic hit, the counseling center was getting busy and there was a need for more counselors. Finding a suitable, full-time counselor is a long and difficult process, so counseling services found unique ways to serve our students. When Schubert found out about the option of telehealth, she knew it would be the best fit for the situation. Uwill offers diversity and flexibility in a way that hiring someone new simply couldn’t achieve.

“We have good ethnic diversity on our staff. Dr. Bernard is African American, Ms. Jaggi is Indian, and I’m obviously White, but we’re all female and we don’t have any LGBTQ people on our staff,” Schubert said. “I understand that somebody, particularly in a position like this, may want somebody that’s like them in some ways—that looks like them or has a background like them that can relate—and that’s totally understandable. That was one of the #1 perks to me of getting Uwill, it gives much more diversity in the offerings of counselors and their backgrounds.”

While Uwill was just implemented this year, the Wellness Advisors program has been up and running for a few years. It has been another big help to fill in some of the gaps in counseling services. Its goal is to promote all-around wellness and health for the whole student body. Counselor Chantelle Bernard recently took over the program and revamped it with the help of the wellness advisors. They now have an executive board with Callie Courtalis heading it as the first president of the program. Over the summer, they decorated their own space to work in the counseling building called the “Reflection Room.” The Reflection Room is open to all students and is there to act as a quiet, safe space for students to wind down and relax.

“We gave a list to Ms. Simpson and she ordered everything for us. Her mom made us blinds to put up with little bees on it which gave it a little personal touch,” Courtalis said.














With all the recent changes, the Wellness Advisors feels like a whole new program with room to grow. All of the advisors are certified, educated peer mentors that specialize in areas such as fitness & nutrition, mental health, and time management. They are completely confidential about their work with students and are eager to help out more.

Currently, they are involved in partnering with student organizations and holding several workshops with them. They would love to do more events and engage more on campus.

“Our big spring event is the Macon Mile. We haven’t been able to do that in a couple of years because of the pandemic, but that’s where we get the community involved and students will sign up and we’ll have giveaways and we’ll come together,” Courtalis said. “You can either walk or run the mile and there will be different things at every quarter mile. We’re really excited about that!”

Moving forward, Courtalis is interested in working more with our faculty. Since we’re a small liberal arts college, there are a lot of opportunities to foster strong connections and relationships between faculty and students. Implementing more wellness activities in class and taking the time to check in with students would help them recognize their personal well-being is important and cared for.

“Our teachers are instructors, we learn from them, we listen to what they say about the material, so if they’re also instructing us about our mental health and well-being, more students might listen to that,” Courtalis said.

Counseling services have worked hard to change and adapt over the past two years. We encourage everyone to seek their services in whatever way works best for them. Please make sure you report any issues you may have during these transitions so that they can be addressed and counseling can continue to grow on campus!


*Graphic courtesy of R-MC Counseling Services. Photos by Veronica Fernandez.