The Undergraduate Student Government Senate discussed mental health programming and the calendar survey during their weekly meeting on Mar. 6.
The Mental Health Initiatives Board is working on a number of projects this semester, including the Peer Nightline, according to co-chair Nathan Yoo '17.
Yoo explained that the Nightline would be a phone line for students to access when they need someone to talk to, especially if they want anonymity or if they do not feel comfortable speaking to their advisers or family.
“We’ve laid some of the groundwork for that already,” Yoo explained.
Co-chair Sarah Sakha '18 said that the MHIB is also pushing for reforms in mental health policies on campus.
Sakha is an Associate Opinion Editor for the 'Prince'.
“Although we don’t have specific recommendations yet, some of the hopes we have include reducing Counseling and Psychological Services wait times, which will include looking at the budget,” Sakha said.
Sakha explained that members of the MHIB had met with Calvin Chin, Director of CPS, to review the appointments system at CPS and that Chin had expressed an interest in making changes.
Yoo said that one of the concerns of CPS staff in creating an online schedule is that a formal schedule might discourage some students from seeking appointments, since the calendar for a particular day might appear full online. CPS is committed to making time for individual appointments, Yoo said.
Sakha added that the Board will work toward reducing stigma associated with accessing services at CPS, noting that the group will analyze how different populations on campus -- athletes, non-athletes, different races etc. -- have been utilizing the resources.
In addition, the MHIB will work on programming for the next Mental Health Week.
“We’ve looked at Mental Health week this year, and how much attention it garnered,” Sakha said, explaining that the board will start planning for events in April in order to get a head start.
USG presidentAleksandra Czulak ’17 said that in addition to the MHIB's work,UMatter staff are collaborating to provide the wellness information shared in Czulak’s weekly emails to the student body.
Academics committee chair Shannon Osaka ’17 said that the calendar change survey, which went live on Mar. 1, has received many responses so far.As of the morning of Mar. 6, 1,861 undergraduates, 568 graduate students and 300 faculty had submitted responses. The numbers account for 35 percent of undergraduate students, 21 percent of graduate students, and 25 percent of the faculty.
The survey will close on Thursday night.
“We’re aiming for a 50 percent response rate,” Osaka said.
Katie Cion '18, director of Communications,said that it is important to let students know that the survey is not just USG soliciting feedback and that actual changes could happen.
Czulak added that over the years, upperclassmen have become more inclined to participate in surveys hosted by USG when asked if more underclassmen were taking the calendar survey.
“I’m optimistic that we might get 40 percent of faculty,” Osaka added.
She noted that faculty members were very willing to participate in the calendar survey.
Michael Cox '17, Campus and Community Affairs committee chair,said that many dance groups had expressed an interest in performing at Communiversity.
Rachel Park ’18, Social Committee chair,noted that her committee is looking into making brunch available outdoors before Lawnparties traditionally starts in the morning.
Jenny Zhang ’18, University Student Life Committee chair,said that USLC wanted to designate a “Career Closet” available for students who might need to borrow formal apparel for job interviews. The option could be made available through the Handshake portal, Zhang noted.
In addition, USLC will work on a photo campaign similar to the “As I Am” campaign from last year to promote body acceptance, she said.
Dueto a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misspelled Shannon Osaka '17's name. The 'Prince' regrets the error.