PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

May 2010

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
Mental Health Month

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
Lighting the Past, Present, and Future
May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Ashford University is celebrating of the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders to the culture of the United States. The Asian-Pacific region includes the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
Find additional information about Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month at

Calling All Writers!
Tell your story: the Asian American Writers Workshop, has an Asian American Short Story contest which offers a $1000 prize!

Five Activities to Recognize Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month:

  • Enjoy a meal at an Asian restaurant; talk to the owners. Learn more about their stories, how they went about establishing their business, the successes and obstacles they've faced. 
  • Read a book by an Asian-Pacific American author. Authors write through their unique "lens" and their perspective is reflected in their writing, the book could be about anything. Check out some suggestions below. 
  • If you are Asian or a Pacific Islander, get as many members of your family together in one place and just enjoy each other's company. Talk about your family's history. How did your family come to the United States? Where did they first settle? What kinds of hardships did they face? 
  • Tell someone that May is recognized as Asian-Pacific American month! Tell them what it means to you; invite them to a local event, or share an historical fact with them. 
  • Incorporate your knowledge of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month into an assignment, a classroom discussion post, or a research project.

Suggested reading list for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month:
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (1995)
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)
Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II by Ronald T. Takaki (2000)
Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian-American Women's Literature by Leslie Bow (2001)

Mental Health Month
Live Your Life Well

Mental Health America ( has set a challenge to "promote whole health and wellness in homes, communities, schools, and inform those who don't believe it's attainable." The identification of May as Mental Health Month began in 1949 – it was the work of Clifford Beers who set out in 1909 to raise awareness of the importance of positive mental health and well-being as well as to improve the level of care provided to individuals faced with the challenges associated with mental illness. Few individuals can appreciate the benefits of positive mental health more than the college student.
Review these indicators that may be signs that you are experiencing stress:

  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Problems concentrating 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Feeling burned out from work or school 
  • Feeling angry, irritable, or easily frustrated 
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feeling nervous or anxious 
  • Problems with memory 
  • Feeling that you can't overcome difficulties in your life 
  • Having trouble functioning in your job, at school, or in your personal life

Feeling stressed as you try to balance academics, home and work? You are not alone! According to the American College Health Association's National Collegiate Health Assessment (, college students reported the following as affecting their academic performance within the past 12 months:

The report also indicated that close to 50% of all college students experienced one or more of the following symptoms during the study period: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed by all they had to do 
  • Feeling exhausted (not from physical activity) 
  • Feeling very lonely 
  • Feeling very sad 
  • Feeling things were hopeless
  • Feeling an overwhelming amount of anxiety

As an Ashford student, how do you effectively balance the demands on your time and manage stress? Mental Health America has developed 10 tools to "Live Your Life Well." 

  • Connect with others: Fight stress with friendship 
  • Stay positive: Changing your thinking can change your life 
  • Get physically active: Exercise can make you happier 
  • Help others: You may feel better serving soup at a shelter than sipping martinis at Happy Hour 
  • Get enough sleep: Being tired can hurt your health and your relationships 
  • Create joy and satisfaction: Feeling good is good for you, so have a laugh, find a hobby, or just kick back 
  • Eat well: The right foods can fuel your mind, boost your mood and fight disease 
  • Take care of your spirit: Praying, meditating, or just connecting with your deepest self can enrich your life 
  • Deal better with hard times: Coping tools can help you through a rough patch 
  • Get professional help if you need it: Don't hesitate to seek professional help

*** Thanks to Asian-Pacific American Heritage, Asian American Writers Workshop, Mental Health America, and American College Health Association's National Collegiate Health Assessment for their knowledge and availability to share it with others***

May 2010