Last week, various campus organizations hosted events that promoted awareness in the name of student health and safety.
Student Health Services brought Health and Wellness Week to the quad with booths and vendors ready to educate students.
It drew representation from various programs on campus including personal counseling that offered meditation, as well as athletic trainers and nursing students with physical health tips.
Beyond conventional notions of health, the fair also featured booths for the Lancer Pantry and Veterans Resource Center.
“It’s a way to give students a chance to know the on-campus resources that are available to them,” said Student Health Services Coordinator Jo Buczko. “The services that we have are pretty comprehensive for a community college.”
Representatives from outside organizations like the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Peace Over Violence contributed to the event as well. Their inclusion is not the first time the program has made efforts to connect campus life and issues with those of the outside world, such as the recent celebration of International Denim Day on April 25.
The day is in support of a case in 1998 when a young woman in Italy was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor. The case went to court and the judge ruled that the victim’s jeans were so tight that she must have helped her attacker to get them off. The women in Parliament were so upset that they demonstrated their defiance by wearing jeans to work. The movement quickly became an international phenomenon.
“Every year, we honor sexual assault prevention,” said Buczko. “It’s our way of getting out there and saying there’s no excuse for rape. In past years, we’ve hung jeans in the quad and people come ask why we’ve hung them and they come up and talk. We have had people disclose to us for the first time that they were assaulted.”
Student outreach is also the primary goal behind Associated Students’ (AS) Advocacy Week. Working in collaboration with Student Health Services, the events focused on mental health this semester.
“A lot of times, students may have mental health problems but they don’t acknowledge it or take it seriously—but it is,” said AS Vice President of Public Relations Natalie Lau.
Stress and anxiety are a large part of the college experience, according to personal counseling intern Kevin Klein.
“We have a lot to deal with,” said Klein. “We have school. We have work. Some of us have kids. Some of us have aging members of our family. It’s a lot. We have a pressure to succeed—a pressure to get out as soon as possible. You’re working 13 jobs just to go to school and you still have to do well. It’s stressful.”
One of the activities involved a “Good Vibes” jar. Students would write positive anonymous notes and either put them in the jar for others to take or take one themselves.
“We want to show students that students are here for students,” said Lau. “As student government, that’s really our whole purpose. We’re here to represent them.”
Another activity had whiteboards with questions that prompted students to share their opinions freely. One board read “Use three words to describe your experience at PCC”.
“We really want to ask students, ‘What is important to you?’ or ‘What issues do you have with [the] campus?’ ” said Lau.
The motivation behind all of these events is placing the spotlight on education for any and all stigmatized student issues from the mental to the physical.
“We want people to be aware of what they can do to prevent it and to be knowledgeable about what to do if it does happen to them or a friend,” said Buczko.