Last spring’s student walkout emphasized dissatisfaction with the college’s health services. This winter, the health and counseling center are answering with the creation of the Student Health Advisory Board.
This board, which is accepting applications through mid-February, is intended to consist of a student from each year and representatives such as Director of Counseling Services Dan Larson, other counselors and potentially a nurse with OSF St. Mary Medical Center.
“I think the basic thing we’re looking for is transparency,” Larson said. “[To learn] what can we do to better meet the students so they are feeling heard. Sometimes there are comments we don’t hear about, so it’s hard to make those changes.”
The board will hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings open to students with ideas of how to improve the health center. One item already being discussed is the introduction of family planning on campus, which is an ongoing process.
For the most part, students have been unaware of the new board, which was shared with students through a campus life email.
Upon learning about the board, sophomore Kinsey Douglas supported it.
“I think it would be really good to open up the conversation to the students for that kind of thing. For me it seems like it’s hard to get information É or at least contact them with possible problems we could be having and changes that we could want to make regarding health. I hope that it generates interest.”
Others were more skeptical of its effectiveness.
“I can say for myself in my four years that I’ve probably had three or four times I go in there and wait forever,” senior Michael Bohnhoff said. “It’s always a frustrating experience. So who knows if something will get done.”
Once students are selected in late February, the board will begin its meetings. Larson encourages students to continue applying until then, as only a few applicants have expressed interest so far.
“I would hope … to get this going by the end of the term,” Larson said. “At least get the initial meetings going so we can hit the ground running for the spring term. I think it’s going to be an exciting thing.”