by Connor Nolan ‘19
Student Congress Publicity
At this week’s general meeting, Student Congress welcomed Jim Campbell, Title XI coordinator, and Cheryl Granai, coordinator of outreach and prevention, to speak on a wide range of topics and field the members’ questions. The first topic regarded the work the health advisory committee has been doing to possibly offer health services and counseling for graduate students. Dr. Campbell stated that if this were to happen it would be offered for full-time grad students, who number close to 200 this year.
He also added that this will lead to certain issues if approved, including overcrowding of health services appointments and the discrepancy in price between undergraduate and graduate students. A student asked if the plan would be to grow undergraduate services and then make it available to graduate students or to make what is available now open to all. Dr. Campbell responded that our school has a good usage of the health center and counseling, which makes it a resource issue to expand to graduate students.
He also said that they are attempting to create classes or programs for undergraduates that would reduce need for counseling by better preparing students for struggles they will face. They have also been taking suggestions from multiple departments on the matter. The questions shifted towards the resources available to students online with one member of the congress asking why the website has not been kept up to date with new information regarding the health center and counseling.
Dr. Campbell said he will raise the issue but that the delay may have to do with the busyness of flu season. When a follow-up was asked, he also said they have some ideas on how to improve the website and will be looking into it. A student asked why there is still a disconnect between faculty and the health center regarding the need for a note if absent from class. He responded that the need for notes overcrowds the health center, and that teachers are directly notified when a student has a major illness, but when it comes to short term illness the teachers should not expect a note.
Granai then spoke on how they have been reaching out to students on leave by phone or letter in order to follow up on any problems and offer the services of the College. They were very proud about this, saying that other schools do not do this. This idea came from a Butler Hospital program run by Brown University that showed that keeping in contact leads to less health issues including suicide. She asked the members of congress to continue work on mental health initiatives on campus, and to help keep track of the number of attendees to report back to the government.
Questions followed on leave and students returning from leave acclimating to campus. They stated that this is the reason for the new program, and that they will continue to communicate until the student feels acclimated to the campus again upon return. When asked how Congress can continue to help, they wrapped up by suggesting that we continue these relationships into the future. Also, clubs should work together on these initiatives in order to reach as many students as possible. The congress would like to thank them for their time and commitment to the College.
There were not enough elected members present for voting, so this week’s old business was tabled until next Tuesday’s meeting, which is the last meeting of the 68th Student Congress.