Student draws on own experiences to influence the well-being of students


Calen Moore / The Sunflower

Jonathan Lozano, SGA Director of Health and Wellness, poses at his desk. He was appointed to his current position in October.

The responsibility to support the health and well-being of a student body can be a daunting task. But Jonathan Lozano feels excited to hold the responsibilities as the SGA Director of Health and Wellness. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the physical health and mental well-being of students have continued to be at the forefront of issues universities are tackling. As the pandemic continues, experts say mental health and physical health among students should be a major concern due to the negative impact the pandemic has left on students mentally. 

Back in October, Junior Biological Sciences major and pre-med student Jonathan Lozano was appointed as the Director of Health and Wellness for the Student Government Association. 

“My position is mostly about researching student health insurance and decreasing its cost, as well as discussing what the other departments within the committee are doing,” Lozano said. 

The Health and Wellness advisory board consists of counseling and prevention services, student health services, the YMCA, and the CARE team. The committee meets once a month to discuss communication with the students and make students aware of the services available to them. 

Lozano, prior to his current position, had not held a position in SGA before. He said it was exciting to be given an opportunity like the one he has. He said that he was not sure he was going to WSU at first, but it has led him to this position. 

“The SGA President and Vice President actually reached out to me and talked about this position, and there was an interview process but I ultimately was not planning on this position,” Lozano said. 

Lozano’s main focus since taking the position has been mental health. Being vocal and showing students the services his department is a part of and can provide has been important to him from the start.

“I myself before assuming this position was struggling with my own mental health and was receiving services through CAPS and it made me realize that we have a lot of services available for students to utilize that we don’t know of,” Lozano said. 

The Health and Wellness advisory board has put a goal to share the message of “its okay to not be okay” by putting signs and support around campus. 

Lozano said there is a stigma around mental health still today and receiving or reaching out for help is seen as weak. But he said that what he wants to break down is the Director of Health and Wellness and shine a light not only on physical health and services, but mental ones also. 

“Coming from a Hispanic household, mental health can be a toxic environment, so that is something I would like to keep in mind going forward and providing more therapeutic services keeping minority students in mind,” Lozano said. 

WSU Junior Mario Loredo recognized the signs and services such as CAPS and the CARE team that WSU provided when he first transferred to Wichita. 

“It’s important to me as a student to know what options I have to seek help I may need but also how to go about it especially for mental health,” Loredo said. 

Loredo, also a Hispanic student, said he feels mental health is often overlooked in his community. 

“It’s encouraging knowing there are people who understand how taboo mental health can be to certain minority groups or in certain families,” Loredo said. 

Lozano also has been active in other ways for students’ physical needs. In the fall he helped to present a funding bill to provide free flu shots for students, with the help of the executive cabinet. 

Currently Lozano and the Health and Wellness department have been focused on the upcoming wellness days this semester. The first wellness day was March 16 and the next one will be April 27. 

“Our department has been working on wellness days for a while, pretty much talking to different administrators encouraging professors to allow students a day off on those days,” Lozano said. “Without spring break, we just think it’s important for students to take a day off as well as the faculty and staff.”

Lozano said events are planned for each day for students to participate in if they choose to do so. 

Looking ahead, Lozano said he is focused on providing more therapists of color for students within campus, as well as more accessible mental health services for students who are struggling. He also said he is working on providing a more accessible clinic for students’ convenience. 

“We never know what students are going through, whether it’s transportation to the clinic or whatever the case may be, we want students to be able to receive the flu shot and make everything accessible to students to access as many resources that can help them,” Lozano said.