Violent crimes committed by college students seem to be on the rise and in the news every year (if not more frequently), which is a troubling indicator of the issues facing college and university students in today’s society. A recent interview with Dori S. Hutchinson, the director of services at Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation, brings to light several factors related to this increased stress on campus environments and the increase in violence. Among her concerns are the fact that students now are ranked as some of the least empathetic in history, suffer from high rates of depression, are brought up from a young age to be perfect or thinking they need to be perfect, and spend more of their time on digital means of communication than personal. Dori’s solution involves creating a caring environment through a proactive community approach. A big step to fix big problems.
While many graduates can agree that stress is intertwined in the daily life of a college student we need to understand that the environmental context of this stress is changing. It brings about a new lens through which student’s view their lives and the lives of others. We must recognize this shift as professionals. Hopefully other colleges can learn from Boston and can fix the problem before it gets worse. Not only could this save lives: it could save families and friends, the loss of loved ones, save students countless amounts of money on reckless behaviors, and save grades. Thank you Dori for your detailed understanding of students and your efforts to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach!