Our Dear Kentucky Colleagues,
The events at Pulse in Orlando on June 12th have left many of our membership speechless and scared. CPAK stands with all those impacted and lost in the Orlando shooting. CPAK stands with our LGBTQ community, as we grieve, support one another, love one another, and move forward with continual courage. As news continues to be shared, we have learned that our higher education communities have been deeply impacted by loss. Our hearts remain with everyone in Florida, so too with those who serve in higher education and student affairs.
We invite you to join CPAK in two symbols of support:
1. Sign the Banner of Support for the LGBT Center at the University of Central Florida. Hanging in The LGBT Center at the University of Louisville is a banner of support for the victims, families, and LGBTQ community at the University of Central Florida. UofL welcomes everyone to come sign the banner. The center is located in the Red Barn, central to UofL's main campus. If you are unable to physically sign the banner, we invite you to digitally sign the banner. On Friday, June 17th, a member of CPAK Executive Committee will sign the banner for you.
2. March with CPAK and UofL at the Kentuckiana Pride Parade. Friday, June 17th, 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. We will send directions for meeting up at the beginning of the march on Friday through social media. Information about the parade: http://www.kypride.com/parade/.
We remind each other than in times of trauma that affect our sense of order and safety, Student Affairs professionals often assume the role of support, and in this time we too are in need of support. We wish to highlight the amazing counseling resources available on our campuses. Our colleagues at the Pennsylvania College Personnel Association (PCPA) have shared the following tips:
- Attend to self-care. While it may seem counter-intuitive to think about taking care of yourself first, you cannot be of service to others if you are unstable. Monitor all of your physical health needs - being sure to eat, sleep, exercise, and (if possible) maintain a normal daily routine.
- Pay attention to your emotional health. Remember that a wide range of feelings during these difficult times are common. Know that others are also experiencing emotional reactions and may need your time and patience to put their feelings and thoughts in order.
- Try to recognize when you or those around you may need extra support. It is not uncommon for individuals of all ages to experience stress reactions when exposed (even through media) to shootings or mass violence. Changes in eating and sleeping habits, energy level, and mood are important signs of distress. Watch for intense emotional reactions, such as anxiety or a strong need for retribution in adults. When necessary, point individuals to licensed mental health professionals who can provide needed support.
- Avoid overexposure to media. While it is important to stay informed, media portrayals of shootings and mass deaths have been shown to cause acute stress and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Limit your exposure and take a break from news sources.
- Maintain contact with friends and family. These individuals can provide you with emotional support to help deal with difficult times.
- Focus on your strength base. Maintain practices that you have found to provide emotional relief. Remind yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting.
- Talk to others as needed. It is important to ask for help if you are having trouble recovering and everyday tasks seem difficult to manage.
CPAK will continue to bring resources to you, as will ACPA. See ACPA's Response to the Tragedy in Orlando.
On behalf of the CPAK Executive Committee,
Taylor McGovern U’Sellis, President Hannah Piechowski, President-Elect