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Contributing to a Campus Culture of Wellness and Harm Reduction

As employees find community at UC Berkeley, we contribute to the well-being of our campus as allies, mentors, resources, and professional experts. UC Berkeley employees have responded to their colleagues’, students’, and constituents' needs by stepping up and building this culture of care in unity. Though we have likely done this informally, many of us have utilized Be Well At Work resources for ourselves, while also imparting its knowledge to others.  

We can also reduce harm by spotting difficulties endured by others and using some tools and resources provided by the University Health Services and the Center for Support and Intervention. UC Berkeley’s Harm Reduction Expansion Program (HREP) is an initiative to reduce risk, consequences, and harm from the use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD). This team provides harm reduction training and supplies to help employees be more aware of how to help and intervene in cases that call in time of need.

This week’s Wisdom Café Wednesday delves into some tools and campus resources that help with harm reduction, and compassionate leadership practices that invite you to take part in opportunities that contribute to a healthier campus community.


UC Berkeley’s Alcohol & Drug Policies & Prevention Programs conducts a Biennial Review of the campus for strengths and areas of improvement for AOD trends. This marks both a celebration of building a healthier campus, while also being responsive to emerging needs. These needs also extend assistance to staff, faculty, and academic personnel.

In addition, University Health Services contains an entire branch of Health Promotion, which includes education and response to campus needs.  Please contact Karen Hughes, MPH for any questions, observations, and concerns related to AOD culture and practice in our community.

Beyond understanding resources and serving as a bystander, employees at UC Berkeley make up the culture of care by being compassionate individuals. Compassion is a skill and practice that makes us all leaders in a variety of ways. We do our part to improve the culture of our teams usually by the goodness of our hearts, but what if this was a skill that we could sharpen a little more?
The following LinkedIn Learning e-course Compassionate Leadership provides scenarios where compassion can show itself, and how it affects us and others around us physically. Author Dr. Melissa Steach, Industrial Organization Psychologist, takes a people-centric approach to how compassion starts with us, then impacts fellow individuals, finally measuring how this plays out in our organizations.

Wisdom Café Wednesday invites you to imagine an area of wellness and care that you espouse. Pick a trait that comes to you naturally, but ask yourself how might your organization or the campus benefit when you put that compassion forward. The themes outlined in the e-course validate individual learners and empower them to lead with their hearts to fulfill a vision.

Wisdom Café Wednesday Featured Practices and Resources Toward a Healthier Campus


Implementing an Assessment and Review Plan 

Assessments like the Biennial Review are examples of how culture shifts happen. While difficulties are easier to notice and stack up, it takes compassion and vision to facilitate collaborations and partnerships that bring forth the changes we want to see. Like strategic planning, multipoint reviews assure that our plans have met their goals. This practice guides teams toward department and campus triumphs as demonstrated by data collection and analysis, reviews, recommendations, implementations, and celebrations.

Collegiate Recovery Program

Beyond seeking help for ourselves and colleagues, the university offers the Collegiate Recovery Program. Facilitated by the Center for Support and Intervention, this program welcomes students in all stages of recovery and provides on-campus recovery meetings, substance-free social events, and individual nonclinical support. Employees can refer students directly through or Program Coordinator, Becca Gardner.

Data Roundtable: What Are We Keeping Front and Center?

The biennial review of AOD-related data defines our needs and provides data showing how our current strategies are effective in addressing emerging priorities. These changes come from buy-in and contributions from campus employees. You are invited to bring your skill set in data analysis to review and explore. Tuesday, March 21 | 2-3 pm | Join via Zoom, Meeting ID: 995 8969 3849.

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How to Share Your Insight on Wisdom Cafe 

Discover the benefits of sharing your professional insights on Wisdom Café Wednesdays and how to do it here.
-Reading about and reaching out to featured colleagues.
-Finding supportive communities.
-Using resources to start your own network.
-Signing up for this Wisdom Café Wednesday Newsletter to ensure you get a message that you can use to support your development every week!
Don't have time for everything? Add time on your calendar to use these resources by using this link.

The Wisdom Café Team
PS - Want to see specific content or staff member featured? E-mail us at
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UC Berkeley People & Culture · University Hall · Berkeley, CA 94720-0001 · USA