A student reading a book outside.

Whole Students, Whole Support

Western Michigan University is focused on supporting Broncos from the moment their education begins all the way through to a quality life and a meaningful career. Our whole-person approach to education means you're supported in every aspect of life—in the classroom, at home, while working, at the gym, even when you're choosing food while grocery shopping. 

We believe offering resources is just the beginning; making the most of those resources to enrich your college experience is a team effort—and the impact lasts a lifetime. At Western, students are supported from submitting their application, during their entire Western experience to walking across the graduation stage and starting a career. We're on this journey together.

Dedicated support in all dimensions

  • Navigators provide the right help to the right student at the right time by removing barriers and providing resources.

  • Paid internships ensure students are career-ready and prepared to thrive after graduation.

  • Well-being extends far beyond the classroom; we support student mental health and healthy lifestyles.

Worth the work

A student working on a piece of equipment.

Western is dedicated to providing meaningful, resume-worthy experience for WMU students, extending learning that begins in the classroom. Beginning in fall 2022, the WMU Paid Internship Program will provide support for Broncos exploring their career options, including wages for work completed at internships in a network of businesses and companies. 

All Western sophomore to senior students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for an internship that is funded at approximately $15/hour for 20 hours per week during a 12-week period. The University will support 100 of these internships during the 2022-23 academic year and plans to grow the number significantly in subsequent years.

Western will work to promote wide access to the program with emphasis on students who might not otherwise be able to take on an internship: first-generation college students and historically marginalized populations.

  • Explore the WMU Paid Internship Program

    Resume-worthy experience

    A quality education is a vital start for students to become career-ready, and experiential learning provides students a leg up in securing their first job and helps them thrive in post-graduate life. Unpaid internships create a financial barrier for some students. The Empowering Futures Gift is lowering that barrier by enabling students to secure resume-worthy, network-building experience while receiving the funds to continue their education.

    Internships provide an invaluable opportunity for students to put their knowledge to the test and find their true purpose. The 2020-21 WMU Post-graduation Activity Report finds recent graduates who completed an internship were three times as likely to have a job related to their degree. They were also twice as likely to be satisfied with their job compared with their peers who did not have an internship. 

    A student speaking with a professor in a classroom.Career and Student Employment Services will shepherd the WMU Paid Internship Program utilizing two new support staff who will guide students on career preparation, assess their progress and provide day-to-day support as well as cultivate a network of 40-50 host organizations. 

    All WMU sophomore to senior students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for an internship that is funded at approximately $15/hour for 20 hours per week during a 12-week period. Western will work to promote wide access to the program with emphasis on high-need students who might not otherwise be able to take on an internship: first-generation college students and historically marginalized populations. The University will support 100 of these internships in the 2022-23 academic year with a goal of scaling up significantly in the next five years. 

    A nursing student looking at an IV bag with her teacher.Participation in the program is need-based for employers but not for students. The program will provide support to West Michigan organizations, specifically small businesses, nonprofits and start-ups that cannot otherwise support paid internships. All participating host organizations must have a designated mentor for the student and commit to a meaningful experience.

    The combination of student and organizational support in the WMU Paid Internship Program should provide a robust program that contributes significantly to both student success and community vitality. By gaining direct, paid, on-the-job experience while building their skillset and professional network, students who successfully complete the program will be ready to pursue their purpose, enter their chosen field and contribute to the workforce and the larger community.

The whole student

At Western, we think about students as whole people with physical, mental and emotional health needs. The University strives to meet these needs during their entire college career in a way that helps them grow strong and prepare for a strong quality of life. That's why we're developing a comprehensive well-being experience where all students can thrive and grow strong.

As an enhancement to current services and further supported by the Empowering Futures Gift, a peer health education program would allow Broncos to help other Broncos with all aspects of their well-being, including:

  • Mental health
  • Social wellness
  • Belonging
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Spiritual wellness
  • Purpose

Additionally, a new wellness coaching system would offer in-person and telehealth options at no cost. Students will work with a wellness coach to assess and build a personalized action plan around the WMU Well-being Wheel.

Western's 8 dimensions of well-being

At Western, we foster development in your social, emotional, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, financial, environmental and physical well-being.

 

A student relaxing in a hammock.

  • Explore the Well-being Model

    At Western, we offer a holistic experience where we think about students as whole people preparing for a quality life and a meaningful career. We are focused on helping our students meet their academic, career and well-being goals. The Empowering Futures Gift is enabling us to advance our efforts as we aim to strengthen this critical component of the Western experience. 

    We have strengths to build on: 60% of Western students feel that their health and well-being is a priority at Western and 66% of students indicate that health is a priority for them. We want to grow those numbers substantially. 

    One of four pillars of the Empowering Futures Gift is enhanced student well-being with new support for student mental health and healthy lifestyles. In support of that pillar, our Wellness Executive Team of experts are developing a comprehensive approach based on eight dimensions of well-being and social determinants of health.

    An integrated model with impact

    Developing an experience where all students can thrive and grow strong requires an integrated, comprehensive approach. For example, we have evidence that interventions beyond counseling can have a tremendous impact on mental health. The top three benefits cited by students who use the Student Recreation Center are more energy, less stress and greater self-esteem—clear evidence of what many studies have demonstrated for years: physical health strengthens mental health. As another example, education and training can play a crucial role in creating a culture of belonging. Eighty-eight percent of first year students who completed Health Promotion and Education training felt they were better equipped to help a friend who is struggling. 

    Social, emotional, intellectual, occupations, spiritual, financial, environmental, physical well-being.The Empowering Futures Gift is making our aspirations a reality. As we continue to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of proposed strategies, some that are currently under consideration include a peer health education program. These paid student educators will specialize in mental health, social wellness, belonging, substance abuse issues, spiritual wellness and purpose. This strategy is in alignment with the JED Campus recommendations, which offers national best-practice strategies for enhancing student mental health. 

    As currently proposed, peer educators will help Broncos build their skills and provide widespread opportunities for students, faculty and staff to learn how to help students in distress and connect them to support resources and also build skills in self-care, resiliency and social connectedness. 

    We are also considering a new wellness coaching system at no cost to students that offers in-person and telehealth options. Students will work with a wellness coach to assess and build a personalized action plan around the WMU Well-being Wheel.

  • I came to this University with the mindset that I was going to be part of an institution that is not only diverse but also cares about the success of our students. To be a Bronco is to be part of a community—people who will definitely help and support each other.

    —Aunner Calderón '22, from Grand Rapids

    Read Aunner's story

Content last updated April 21, 2022, and is subject to change without notice.