By Christian Manoukian
Campuses across the country are taking the initiative to inform students of the health services available to them on campus and raising awareness of the programs in place to nurture both the physical and mental health of their student populations.
At Cal Poly Pomona, it’s the students themselves who are playing a prominent role in raising student and faculty awareness.
CPP’s Student Health Advisory Committee was formed through an executive order from former California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed in 2005 with the intent of creating a single committee on each CSU campus.
“As the policy states, the Student Health Advisory Committee advises the president and the Stu-dent Health Center on the scope of service, delivery, funding and other critical issues relating to campus health services,” said Elizabeth Chapin, manager of Public Affairs at the CSU Office of the Chancellor.
In CPP’s case, that means any study or proposal that SHAC wants to introduce needs to be brought before University President Soraya M. Coley first.
Because it is a student-run and student-led committee, “students shall constitute a majority of membership” and the committee “may include faculty, administrative and staff members and shall include a representative from the Student Health Center,” as stated in the original April 28, 2005 memorandum found on the CSU’s official website.
Currently, there are two sitting students on the committee, along with several faculty and staff members.
One of the committee’s main responsibilities is to initiate and gather research about a variety of campus issues to gauge student opinion.
Because the committee is comprised mostly of students, they can’t enact the changes that they want to see made by themselves.
Rather, they can present the statistics and information they’ve gathered to help Coley understand the need or the demand for it and what needs to change.
One recent example of this process deals with CPP’s ambulance service.
The school used to have ambulance services on campus to assist persons in need, but they were cut due to financial con-straints.
SHAC conducted research and was able to obtain enough information to submit to Coley to con-vince her to reinstate ambulance service.
The service soon came back, thanks to the committee’s research.
But SHAC does not only advocate for health services on campus.
The committee also conducts interviews and polls among students to try to gauge the overall campus opinion to find out what food options students want to see on campus.
A few years ago, Associated Students, Inc. and SHAC conducted research on what food or res-taurant students most wanted on campus.
The top response? Chipotle.
“As we found out though, Chipotle, like In-N-Out, doesn’t do college campuses. So, in re-sponse, we found the next best option who would do campuses, which was Qdoba,” said Farris Hamza, ASI’s secretary of internal affairs and one of SHAC’s leading members.
According to Hamza, this type of targeted research contributes to a better campus experience for students.
It’s something the committee plans on continuing in the future, as tentatively, the current freshman housing and Los Olivos Dining Hall will be gradually phased out over the next 10 years or so and a new dining hall will potentially be opened in its place.
“If we are able to gather research and opinions on what students, and especially first-years and freshman, want to eat in their dining hall, we might be able to provide a better experience for them, if they currently feel like the service is unsatisfactory,” said Hamza.
Students who choose to join SHAC can recommend their own personal projects to study and potentially bring about change on issues they are interested in and passionate about.
“As long as it pertains to student health and safety, that’s something we can address and bring to the administration, hopefully bringing about change in the process,” said Hamza.
Any student interested in joining SHAC must have a minimum 2.0 GPA and have been enrolled at CPP for a minimum of two quarters.
Meetings are held at least once each quarter.
If interested in serving on this committee, students can contact the executive director of Student Health and Counseling Services.
Sungah Choi / The Poly Post
Student Health Advisory Committee
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