JED and Chartwells Provide Back-to-School Resources to 300 College Campuses

A group of students at DePaul University show off the Joy-Ful items they received as part of the JED and Chartwells back-to-school initiative.

By Jessica Hicks

The Jed Foundation (JED) and Chartwells Higher Education, a leader in contract food service management for colleges and universities, partnered this back-to-school season to foster connection and encourage help-seeking as students arrived on their campuses. The initiative took place at more than 300 colleges and universities across the country. 

Heading to campus can be a stressful transition for both first-year and returning college students as they juggle social and academic demands, homesickness, and creating a new home. Many college students are also navigating mental health challenges. Recent research finds that more than 60% of college students had at least one mental health problem during the 2020–2021 school year, which is a 50% increase from 2013.

A "Wall of Welcome" in a Chartwells dining hall on a college campus as part of its initiative with JED.

To support students with their emotional well-being during this transition, Chartwells collaborated with JED to expand Joy-Ful, Chartwells’ national campaign to foster belonging within campus communities. Together, they provided students with QR codes they could scan to access JED’s guide How to Make Yourself at Home on Campus, which includes tips on everything from practicing self-care and managing academic stress to establishing a routine, and JED’s Mental Health Resource Center, which houses hundreds of helpful articles and videos on specific mental health issues, feelings, identities, and more.

JED and Chartwells also sponsored a “Wall of Welcome” in dining halls across these campuses, where students could write down their ideas for creating connections at school and pick up Joy-Ful reusable water bottles, tote bags, and more. Four students show off the Joy-Ful tote bags and water bottles they received as part of the Chartwells and JED back-to-school initiative.

Campuses were also given the opportunity to:

  • Distribute “Care Cards” designed with words of encouragement, mental health tips, and QR codes to resources
  • Have therapy dogs at campus events
  • Host “Eat and Greets” with campus chefs and dietitians

JED is grateful for its continued partnership with Chartwells and looks forward to meeting students where they gather and connect over meals, to offer ongoing support to college students throughout the academic year and beyond.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.