Student Government Announces Mental Health Day

Also: details for a forum with President Zimmer and Dean Boyer on free speech.

By Deepti Sailappan, Managing Editor ('19-'20)

A full day of campus-wide programming related to mental health on campus is scheduled for Friday, February 9, SG Student Government (SG) announced at their assembly meeting on Monday. 

The event will take place on College Break Day, an annual day of no classes for undergraduates. Fourth-year and SG president Calvin Cottrell expressed hopes that the mental health event will become an annual occurrence. 

Programming includes breakout sessions and workshops for students, as well as a town hall for University administrators to discuss University mental health resources, according to Cottrell. SG is currently looking for a keynote speaker for the event; other programming details have yet to be announced. 

“We want to…make sure that this isn’t just a lecture series from administration about resources [on campus], but that it’s a really productive dialogue,” Cottrell said. 

Cottrell and fourth-year Chase Harrison, SG’s vice president for student affairs, also discussed the open forum on free speech announced in December and scheduled to take place sometime this quarter. 

The forum will include a question-and-answer session, in which University President Robert J. Zimmer and Dean of the College John W. Boyer will take questions from students. 

All students in the College will be eligible to request tickets for the event, which Cottrell called “the first open forum that students have had in years.” Asked why the forum is restricted to college students, Cottrell answered that national conversations about free speech have typically centered on undergraduates, while Harrison added that undergraduates are more likely than graduate students to view campus as “a kind of home.” Cottrell noted that transcripts of the forum will be made publicly available. 

A date, time, and location for the forum have yet to be set. 

SG also announced a limited relaunching of the Sustainability Czars program during the meeting. As part of the program, students in 14 houses on campus will work to implement promote events, student groups, and initiatives related to environmentally friendly practices on campus. 

Attempts to implement similar, long-lasting programs in College Housing have appeared in recent years. These include SAGE Czars, promoted in 2013 by the Office of Sustainability’s Sustainable Actions for a Greener Environment program, and student-led negotiations with College Housing in 2014 to create a Green Czar position. 

The relaunched Sustainability Czars program represents a partnership between SG Committee on Campus Sustainability, the Phoenix Sustainability Initiative, Housing & Residence Life, and the Office of Sustainability. The program is currently open to students in Salisbury, Vincent, Linn-Mathews, Dodd-Mead, Wendt, Keller, Rickert, May, Alper, Wallace, Thangaraj, Shorey, Snell, and Hitchcock Houses.