A Virtual Wellness Assistant for USC

 

With the launch of the Office of Wellbeing & Education came a slew of new ideas to bring about positive change within the USC student body. One of these projects is Aristotle, or Ari, a customized Virtual Wellness Assistant that can engage with students around the clock and serve as a gateway to other existing resources on our campuses.

Like many other colleges and universities throughout the United States, USC faces many challenges regarding student wellness, self-care, resilience, and success. While there are those who actively seek help and engage with resources such as counseling, up to 75% of the remaining students are left in the dark on less “serious” topics, such as awareness, healthy communication, loneliness, sleep, hygiene, and more.

Aristotle can help fill this gap. Completely designed and built on psychoeducational resources, Ari can be engaged through many modes – users can select topics through menus or prompts, or by text or voice messages. Ari will engage in a dialogue to assess the precise issue and offer videos, assessments, guided information, worksheets, and other activities that can empower students to “develop skills needed for managing stress, connecting with others, and balancing college life.”

Instead of relying on the Internet for wellness questions, USC students will soon be able to receive reliable and accurate answers through Ari. All content is continuously updated with the latest evidence-based and peer-reviewed research. I am extremely excited to see how far the Virtual Wellness Assistant has come, and am so grateful for the leadership and efforts by the Office of Wellness & Education and the USC Institute for Creative Technology.

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