AUDREY KORTE/THE SUNFLOWER
Student leaders are advocating for the university to adopt two wellness days for the Spring 2021 semester.
The wellness days will be two days out of the semester where professors are encouraged to cancel classes and students are provided resources to help them reground and take care of their mental health.
Student Body President Rija Khan said that seeing how the fall semester impacted students was what started the conversation.
“We’re constantly working, constantly doing homework, we’re trying to submit assignments, and it’s taking a negative toll on our mental health and how we process things,” Khan said. “Based on the fall semester, we started a discussion and said, ‘Hey, we want to add mental health days instead of a week long break.’”
The regular spring semester is set to start Feb. 1 and will not have the usual one week spring break. The Student Government is hoping that putting in place wellness days will help students get a break that they otherwise would’ve gotten from spring break.
Khan said the wellness days would be the time for students to utilize whatever resources they want to.
“If students want to catch up on their homework, they can do so,” Khan said. “If they want to use the counseling services, or any services there are out there for them that they would like to use, that would be the time they would slow down and take care of their health.”
The student government is looking at two dates: Tuesday, March 16 and Wednesday, April 21.
The current main focus is to provide students with free counseling, but all the programming details will be worked out with the Health and Wellness Advisory Board.
“We’ve worked with the deans and various other people to discuss having free counseling, someone else mentioned free yoga or free mediation outdoors … we’ll work out what those resources will be,” Student Government Association’s Director of Policy Jadie Chauncey said.
“I’m really excited about this plan because with these activities it’ll make professors more willing to not have class that day.”
Khan said that administrators have been supportive of the idea.
“Originally their reactions were more on the side of, ‘Well, we need to do more research.’,” Khan said. “So we went out and did a lot of research and now what we’re getting is support from the interim president and the interim vice president and they’ve been helping us get the word out to professors and encouraging the professors to cancel those days for classes.”