Butler University has launched the Student Well-being and Institutional Support Survey (SWISS), the first national assessment to evaluate a campus’ impact on well-being.
“We administered the SWISS at Butler University in fall of 2020, and many of our results made intuitive sense given the ongoing pandemic,” said Bridget Yuhas, the co-executive director for Butler University’s Institute of Well-being. “Students wanted more support for building social connections in their places of residence, for campus traditions that unite all students and for opportunities to connect with the local community. We weren’t doing any of those things at the time.”
Impact of the Survey’s Results at Butler
Yuahs also shared the SWISS produced other results which sparked questions they dug into.
For example, a majority of students reported they didn’t know where to go on campus to learn more about nutrition. “Butler has a wonderful dietician on staff who does great outreach and programming, so we were confused by this result,” said Yuhas. “After disaggregating the data by student characteristics, however, we found upper-class students were the group who didn’t know about our dietician’s services — as opposed to first-year students who learned about her services in the dining hall. Given this information, our dietician was able to target outreach to fraternity and sorority houses, and upper-class students who didn’t have dining plans to make sure all students were aware of her services.”
EXTRA CREDIT: Overcoming the dislike for assessment is no easy task, but the benefits could be worth it.
Another helpful SWISS result aligned with a desire students voiced. They wanted more opportunities and social connections that aligned with Butler’s strong institutional commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). Yuhas shared it helped them design programming in the residence halls. “Doing so helped Butler make data-informed decisions to respond to student needs in efficient and targeted ways,” said Yuhas.
SWISS on a National Level
Since 2020, Butler has administered the SWISS at nearly 20 institutions across the country. Other campus’ have found it beneficial as well. For example, the SWISS helped the University of South Alabama identify and address food insecurity on campus.
All in all, the SWISS looks to further support students’ holistic well-being. And in the end this, shared Yuhas, increases both the individual and institutional positive outcomes.
“By measuring institutional well-being efforts, practitioners can make data-informed decisions about where and how to allocate resources and staff time to areas where students say they need it most,” said Yuhas. “SWISS is the only national survey that measures well-being efforts at the institution level, including supports for academics, basic needs, meaning and purpose, EDI, financial literacy, and more.”