The CARE executive slate created a new committee this academic year, the Health and Wellness Committee, to improve the physical and mental health of UChicago’s student body.
“UChicago has had a mental health crisis for years, and it’s time SG put the time, money, and people together to have people dedicated to addressing this problem,” said Kosarachi Achife, vice president for student affairs, in a statement to The Maroon.
The Health and Wellness Committee will be led by second-year Ella Bradford and third-year Alessandra Veinbachs, and includes four other members in the College.
The committee plans to create alliances with other health-related organization on campus to extend their collective outreach.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting and collaborating with all the different health-focused RSOs on campus. I think as we all work together and focus our energy, we can make some really big changes,” Veinbachs said.
This quarter, the Health and Wellness Committee plans on working with the University of Chicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI) to conduct a University-wide survey on students’ opinions towards campus health services.
“We hope to gain an understanding of what students would like to see changed with regards to mental health on campus,” Veinbachs said.
Other planned wellness projects include working with menstrual cup company DivaCup to provide free menstrual cups in the Reg, replacing the free tampons and pads vending machines provided in the A-level by Student Government with a more sustainable option, and arranging a rentable crutches and wheelchair service through Student Disability Services (SDS) and Student Health Services (SHS).
“We’re working with a few other members of Student Government to create a resource book that students can easily navigate to better understand pathways to mental healthcare,” Veinbachs said.
Veinbachs, who joined Active Minds and Lean on Me her first year, said, “Mental health awareness and advocacy has always been extremely important to me, and when I saw that a committee was being created to promote overall student wellness on campus, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Bradford, a member of the Emergency Fund, said, “My own experiences with SCS and the struggle of navigating mental healthcare compounded my passion for improving access and culture on campus.”
An example of this is another project planned by the committee which intends to partner with student organizations Lean on Me, Active Minds, and UCDI, as well as SCS, SDS, and SHS, to shift campus culture toward being more supportive of the physical and mental struggles that students face.
“This project will train anyone and everyone on campus,” Bradford said. “We are collaborating with RSOs to develop curricula focusing on a range from empathetic listening to crisis support.”