ASG plans self-care campaign to be partially implemented during Reading Period

Jordan Harrison, Assistant Campus Editor

Members of Associated Student Government are working to create a self-care campaign, which will be partially implemented during Reading Period, encouraging students to take time for themselves and their well-being.

ASG is planning to implement preliminary programming for the initiative, tentatively called “Take Time,” before continuing to develop a broader campaign over the summer to be potentially implemented in the fall.

SESP sophomore Chris Harlow, ASG student life vice president, said the organization has a mental health coalition where it brings together quarterly different mental health groups on campus, such as NU Listens and NU Active Minds, to hear their recommendations and help spread their message.

He said the primary message ASG heard from those groups and from administrators was that students are not taking enough time to care for themselves.

“Ultimately, a self-care campaign isn’t so much about directing people to resources like Counseling and Psychological Services or to NU Listens or NU Active Minds, rather this is going to be a much more subconscious or implicit message that, ‘Hey, Northwestern student, remember to just think about your well-being a little bit each day,’” he said.

Harlow emphasized the campaign will broadly address stress and well-being on campus and is not meant to be a substitute for resources focused on serious mental health issues and disorders.

SESP sophomore Hannah Brock, ASG’s mental health initiative coordinator, said the organization wanted to move beyond a purely informational campaign.

“Our idea was that we wanted to have some sort of campaign that wasn’t just about statistics and facts,” she said. “We wanted to do something proactive so that this campus can remember that it’s important to take five minutes or 10 minutes to just take care of yourself, whether that’s having tea or taking a nap or something like that.”

ASG will solicit feedback from students during Reading Period about their self-care practices, Brock said, and will use the information to more broadly implement the program in the fall.

“Our idea is basically to have whiteboards in Norris and the libraries and common areas, and we’ll be asking, ‘How do you take time for yourself?’” she said.

Weinberg senior Leah Grodinsky, co-director of NU Listens, said stress management and mental health in the NU community could improve if students took time for each other as well.

“The campaign that we’re working on involves an element of self-care, but also community care,” she said. “What I really like about the latter community care is that I think during stressful moments during finals and Reading Week we tend to isolate ourselves and not necessarily be available to people who might need us during a stressful period.”

She said she thought community building would ultimately improve mental health for individuals.

“We’re expected and encouraged even to be self-promoting and self-serving on this campus, and so there’s less of an emphasis on fostering a sense of community and camaraderie,” she said. “I think, overall, that’s one start of a way that we can improve, and I think as a result of having that sense of community we would individually be healthier as well.”

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