San Marcos,
09:36 AM

Second Annual CSUSM Campaign Asks an Important Question: What Gives Your Life Meaning?

By Whitney Frasier

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will kick off the second annual What gives your life meaning? (WGYLM) campus campaign in April to raise awareness of the importance of articulating values and beliefs for healthcare decisions between loved ones.

Although What gives your life meaning? may be a deceptively simple question on the surface, its deeper significance involves understanding and respecting the final wishes of family and friends as they near the end of life.

“The WGYLM campaign provides an opportunity for all of us to step back and think about what makes our lives meaningful,” said Sharon Hamill, professor of psychology and faculty director for CSU Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM.

“Perhaps equally important, it asks us to consider whether we have let those we love know what is most meaningful to us.”

During the campaign the campus community will be offered valuable information about the ins and outs of palliative care as well as material that can assist people with taking charge of their own medical decisions by developing advance directives. .

“Illness will strike all of us—either personally or through someone we care about,” said Hamill “But none of us want to become our disease. We want to be acknowledged as more than physical beings—as emotional, spiritual individuals who have relationships that are important to us.”

Since illness can occur at anytime it’s important for everyone –including college students—to be educated about the benefits of advance directives and palliative care.

The event series, hosted in partnership with CSUSM faculty, includes a resource fair, art projects, a movie night and several discussions and lectures. The events are designed to stimulate conversation between people to think about their values, health behaviors and healthcare, as well as the question of who would speak for them if they couldn’t speak for themselves.

“This campaign underscores the need to be proactive in all aspects of our lives, including in our decisions about health care,” said Hamill. “WGYLM is about the need to recognize the whole person, and this includes efforts to humanize healthcare. At the heart of it, that is really what Palliative Care is all about.”

Upcoming Events for What Gives Your Life Meaning?:

My Health, My Life, My Choice

Tuesday, April 5 from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Social and Behavior Sciences Building, 3219

My Health, My Life, My Choice is a workshop to enhance communication around quality of life concerns, and self-advocacy around the area of health care decision-making. The workshop will provide attendees with a better understanding of advance care planning and how it can ensure a better quality of life. Open to faculty and staff. Register through the Employee Training Center.

My Voice, My Choice

Thursday, April 7 from noon to 12:50 p.m.

Academic Hall, 102

This workshop will demonstrate the importance of advance directives not just for the elderly but also for students. Empower yourself and take charge of your life! Facilitated by Sharon Hamill, faculty director for the Institute for Palliative Care at CSUSM.Open to all students, RSVP not required.

Resource Fair and Campus Community Art Project

Thursday, April 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

University Student Union, Arcade

Designed for students, staff and faculty, the WGYLM? Resource Fair will feature information on palliative care including: healing arts, veteran programs, hospice services, grief support and local nonprofit healthcare agencies. Students can make potential connections for volunteer opportunities. There will be a photo booth with Crash, visiting therapy dogs available for petting, colorful chalk drawings and the opportunity to write on the Charity Wings “Before I die, I will make time to create….” Art wall.

Free Movie Night: Being Mortal

Thursday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m.

The McMahan House

A PBS FRONTLINE documentary follows Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors are often remarkably untrained, ill suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.

A panel discussion will follow the film. Open to faculty, staff and students. No RSVP required.

The Peace Paper Project

April 25 through 27; during normal business hours

CSUSM Veterans Center

The Peace Paper Project will bring a paper making studio to the Veterans Center for all CSUSM students who wish to attend and meet other students in a creative environment. Students who participate will learn to use an ancient technique to make paper out of a small piece of cloth, followed by a silkscreen process to embed a meaningful image of their choice to show artistic expression.