USC sends out survey to gauge student well-being

The questionnaire is being sent out to 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

The USC Student Health Center is encouraging students to participate in a well-being survey sent out April 9 to help the office understand the resources necessary to support students during and after the current global pandemic.

The survey will focus on topics such as at-risk drinking, sexual assault and misconduct, financial burdens, hazing and COVID-19. The goal of the survey is to strengthen resources and programs, as well as enhance campus life.

Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer at USC Student Health, addressed how it is the institution's mission during this unprecedented time to pursue any opportunities to learn from our current challenges and different aspects of students' health behaviors.

“I’m particularly interested in how we take what we learn on this and feed it to campus leadership as far as what students need from a recovery standpoint after this disruption,” Dr. Van Orman said.

30,000 undergraduate and graduate students will be selected randomly from the University Park Campus, Health Sciences Campus and online programs to take the survey.

Dr. Van Orman says the reason for only sending the survey to a select amount of students is because they want to get opinions from multiple programs, schools, sexes and ethnic groups. She says if they sample everyone, it’s harder for her team to incentive students to take the survey and get a good sample.

“When we were designing who to sample, we sort of look at the numbers and then look at it statistically because in some cases, we have to ask a higher percentage from some schools than others to try and get enough people to respond in order to draw valid conclusions,” Dr. Van Orman said.

The survey is not mandatory, but students are encouraged to participate in order for the university to gauge how the pandemic is affecting the whole community and each person individually.

Minnie Hong Ho, executive director for communications and marketing at USC’s Student Health, encourages students to respond to COVID-19 emails sent to them by the school if they are looking for immediate help during the pandemic.

Ho said Student Health faculty answer all emails sent to, and their team works hard to make sure students get connected to the right resources.

“We’ve seen some very significant emails about, not just on an individual’s financial situations, but also tied to bigger family issues with financial impacts,” Ho said. “People are making very tough decisions with whether they continue with their studies or how they continue with their studies or if they go to work for their families.”

All offices at USC, such as the Office of Crisis Support and Intervention and the Office of Religious Life, are still open virtually during this time.

Ho hopes that, through this survey, the university can start to prepare for the long-term effects of the pandemic.

“The long-term effects are not going to be easy to untangle,” said Ho. “Many students are hoping this doesn’t prove to be a long standing, dramatic draw back to people attaining their education goals.”

The survey takes an estimated 10 to 15 minutes to complete and students' answers will be kept as confidential as possible, according to USC Student Health. Students are not required to answer all questions, only the ones they are comfortable responding to.

Actions will be implemented next Fall, but Dr. Van Orman believes the survey data also has the potential for immediate influence on students’ current situations.

The results will come in early May and will be shared with faculty and staff, as well as students.