Self Care, Health, and Wellness Advocacy

Gathering with Gratitudes Gathering Space candle in hand icon

What are you grateful for? A chance to lean into gratitude.

Every Wednesday in the Gathering Space

Join Gathering Space student interns each week as they lead Gathering with Gratitude. Gathering with Gratitude (GG) is a weekly event to journal, reflect and discuss topics relating to thankfulness and gratitude. Gratitude is the process of being thankful and recognizing what we have and where we are in the present moment. Then, to bring kindness into that moment. Each week focuses on a different topic. Practicing gratitude regularly can be healing and meaningful through this act of learning and focusing on what we are grateful for. GG is celebratory and reflective for those within and relating to the UMBC community. Guest speakers from various traditions (including members of the Religious Council) will occasionally be invited to bring their perspectives on gratitude to space. GG meetings are open to all UMBC community members.

Mindfulness Mondays Gathering Space candle in hand icon

A Space to Breath. To Reflect. To Be.

Every Monday in the Gathering Space

Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully bringing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment. Given the daily pressure and stress faced by many, finding the time and different ways to pause and reflect is increasingly important. Join our staff to pause and connect with yourself, others, and the space around you. Each week, participants will have various opportunities to practice mindfulness, including yoga, meditation, and exploring various religious/spiritual approaches to this topic. This is a collaborative series between Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging, UMBC Recreation, and the Office of Health Promotions. Mindfulness Mondays are open to all UMBC community members.

QueerCare: LGBTQIA2+ Well-Being Series Progressive Pride flag in Retriever icon

Queercare is well-being series centering LGBTQIA2+ community members building relationships, accessing resources, and engaging in other activities to gain information on practicing radical self-care. This program provides LGBTQIA+ community members the resources to help obtain quality care concerning their social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

Retriever Immigrants United (RIU): Immigrant Self-Care and Advocacy Discussion Group Mosaic lotus in circle

Originally a social action and service student organization, Retriever Immigrants United (RIU) transitioned to our department. RIU is now a self-care and advocacy discussion-based program that centers on the experiences of UMBC undergraduate students, graduate students, and staff who identify as first, 1.5, second-generation, or children of immigrants regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, and/or citizenship status.* This semi-structured, topic-based group discusses the diverse immigrant experience with a focus on the role identity plays on intersectionality, community building, and social justice, while also providing a safe/brave space for UMBC immigrant community members to share their feelings, experiences, and engage in vulnerable dialogue with other community members.

*Please note that this group centers on immigrants and on the immigrant experience. This is subject to change according to attendees and potential future event opportunities and initiatives for allies. For clarification on the language used, please refer to the definitions below:

First-generation immigrant: Immigrants born outside the United States have immigrated sometime within their lifetime.

1.5-generation immigrant: Can also self-identify as a first-generation immigrant. One-and-a-half-generation immigrants are defined as an immigrant who is born outside the United States but who immigrated as a minor. In some cases, this occurs at an early enough age that they become assimilated enough to the dominant culture making it difficult to distinguish them from first or second-generation immigrants.

Second-generation immigrant: Natural-born citizens of the United States and the children of first-generation immigrants. May also identify as a first-generation American.

SistaCare: Black Women and Femmes of Color Discussion Group Mosaic lotus in circle

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
SistaCare is a self-care and community-building group that centers undergraduate and graduate students who identify as Black/Africana women (e.g., transgender, cisgender) and femmes, regardless of gender expression.* The opening quote, penned by writer Audre Lorde in 1988, illuminates the necessity of Black women to intentionally cultivate, grow, and maintain self-care practices as both a personal and political act. In doing so, we directly challenge systems of oppression that seek to dehumanize and devalue Black Women.
*Please note that this group centers the named population. This will change according to attendees and potential future event opportunities and initiatives. For clarification on the language used, please refer to the definitions below:

Transgender: Also “trans” people are those whose psychological self (“gender identity”) differs from social expectations for the gender that they were assigned at birth. One must understand the difference between biological sex, which is one’s body (e.g. genitals, chromosomes, secondary sexual characteristics.), and social gender, which refers to levels of masculinity and femininity. Often, society conflates sex and gender, viewing them as the same thing. However, this is inaccurate. For example, someone who identifies as a trans man would have been assigned female at birth but identify as a man.

Cisgender: Also “cis” refers to people whose sex and gender are congruent by predominant cultural standards: women who have female sexual characteristics, men who have male sexual characteristics. This term was created to challenge the privileging of such people relative to those who are transgender. People who are not transgender and who have only ever experienced their subconscious and sexually-specific physical characteristics as being aligned

Femme: A descriptor for a queer person who presents and acts in a traditionally feminine manner. This person may or may not identify themselves within the gender binary.
Gender expression: An expression of one’s gender or gender identity. This can include but is not limited to personality traits, behaviors, appearance, mannerisms, interests, hobbies, values, etc. Gender can be expressed in many forms and can also be culturally specific. For example, long hair may be appropriate for men of specific cultures but not all of them.