Letter to the Editor: NU Active Minds, NU Listens: Build Up Student Wellness with Haley and Chris

Amanda Meyer, Ary Hansen, Tiana Hickey, Emma Gordon

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As the final week of campaigning begins, we find ourselves deciding between two different sets of candidates, two different platforms and two different visions for campus. For many students, this is the only time of the year when ASG is on their radars. However, as NU Listens and NU Active Minds, we collaborate year-round with ASG in efforts ranging from gaining administrative support for new CAPS staff members to changing student attitudes toward mental wellness.

Our experiences working with ASG have shown us that Haley and Chris are the most qualified candidates to promote student wellness and mental health at NU. Because of their clear track record and dedication to these issues, we are excited to endorse their campaign for ASG President and Executive Vice President.

As mental health advocates, we’ve found understanding campus mental health involves knowing what we as students need. No matter how many sessions students are granted at CAPS, larger questions about student wellness need to be addressed. How does our campus culture play into mental health? What factors affect student well-being and why? What contributes to stress and what can we do to alleviate these components?

Haley and Chris have shown an incredible commitment to mental health in their time working with ASG, and this passion has translated into their impressive platform. They understand that wellness is the basis for personal, emotional and academic success for every student. By prioritizing mental health, they will create a safer, healthier campus atmosphere that allows students to devote time to their well-being in the same way they would any class or student group involvement.

Haley and Chris’ commitment to student wellness extends back to their freshman year, when Chris co-sponsored the resolution calling for a Mental Health ENU. The ENU has been one of NU’s most significant, permanent actions to promote mental wellness, and the results are impressive: In its first year, CAPS saw a 14 percent increase in requests, and this past fall, requests were up 19 percent from the previous year.

Throughout the past year, we’ve had the privilege to work with Chris and his Student Life Committee to assess mental health needs on campus. He spearheaded a mental health working group that has helped us better target our services to the student body and focus more specifically on issues such as intersectionality and socioeconomic stressors.

This feedback has also spurred more focused programming, including “Take Time” during exam relief: therapy dogs, a 24-hour Norris, cotton candy at The Rock and peer-to-peer notes of encouragement were all part of this initiative.

This collaboration has allowed both our groups to reach out to the broader campus community. NU Listens and NU Active Minds tend to attract people who are specifically interested in mental health, but mental health is an issue that must become part of the larger campus conversation. Haley and Chris have already begun this process, and their efforts support the work of our organizations, ASG, and the university at large.

Haley and Chris understand the complexity and nuances of issues related to mental health on campus, and by collaborating with us and other groups, they have already turned thought into action. We believe that they are the most qualified candidates to promote student wellness, and we are confident that they would continue these efforts as ASG president and executive VP.  Haley and Chris are the best candidates to lead our campus, both in vision and in action, for the promotion of mental wellness and the creation of a healthier campus.

Amanda Meyer, co-president, NU Active Minds

Ary Hansen, co-president, NU Active Minds

Tiana Hickey, director, NU Listens

Emma Gordon, assistant director, NU Listens