The October Student Government report mentioned an initiative called “Support system strengthening.” The initiative is focused on creating support systems for students feeling overly stressed or considering academic withdrawal.
Residence Hall Association President Taylor Bates said Student Government is making an action plan to reach out to students and better understand their problems.
“I think that right now what a lot of us are trying to understand is how this problem relates specifically to Chapel Hill, because when you look at the statistics on college drop out data, it’s very different across the country, as well as across the world,” Bates said.
Student Body Secretary Paige Waltz said the Student Safety and Wellness Committee initiated the project. It’s currently in its beginning stages, researching and exploring options.
“They’re brainstorming the best ways to implement this goal of ours and who on campus we might be able to work with,” Waltz said.
Bates said he hopes to talk to students to understand where they stand on the issue through surveys, community listservs and interactive events. Bates said he’d like to see resources like the Learning Center, Academic Advising, Student Wellness and the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid involved.
One concern is that many students consider withdrawing for financial reasons, so showing them what resources are available and what the University can do might help.
Waltz said Student Government is tentatively considering the Learning Center and UNC Residence Life as possible partners, but the committee is still exploring what campus organizations will be most beneficial in helping students.
Sophomore Nicole Robinson talked about some of the positive aspects that she thinks could come from the initiative.
“I think that this would be a good idea, because if students don’t know about their resources, they’re more prone to drop out,” Robinson said. “Having an available place to go to and learn about these resources and get help from people; it definitely prevents people from dropping out.”
Senior Sarah Mardovich had some concerns.
“I am skeptical about the program, but I think that if it is something they find that students want and will use, then I say go for it,” she said. “I would hate to see something funded that is not used.”
Waltz said the committee is currently focused on sexual assault, but plans to focus on the new initiative in the near future. “We’re looking at this really taking hold towards the end of the semester, but most likely the main initiative in the early spring,” she said.