Ahead of the upcoming finals period, the Student Government Association (SGA) declared the week of Dec. 2 to be its second-ever Wellness Week. Throughout the week, SGA sponsored events meant to support students’ mental health and wellbeing.
Senior Class Senator Chanel Lee explained that students often do not take good care of themselves during stressful times like finals period. In an email to The News-Letter, however, they emphasized that they did not believe that just reminding students to take care of themselves was enough.
Lee argued that the problem is that students are seldom given the resources that they need to take care of themselves.
“Students need to remind one another to breathe and take time for ourselves, but I also don’t think all the responsibility should weigh on students. Faculty and administration should absolutely be a part of this conversation around student health and should be providing time and space for students to take care of their health needs,” they said. “Wellness Week aims to address that issue in part by bringing the resources to where the students are.”
On Monday, SGA handed out free cookies and hot chocolates on the Brody Terrace. Later in the day, Staff Psychologist, Coordinator for Services for Black Students and Coordinator for Professional Development Leslie Leathers and Doctoral Intern Leyla Mansur from the counseling center ran a mindfulness workshop.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Leathers stated the importance of strong mindfulness practices.
“It’s really about learning to be present with an attitude of acceptance towards your current moment and experience,” Leathers said. “Even though it is hard at first, it just means that it is hard and not impossible.”
On Tuesday, Junior Class Senators Mariam Al-Jabi-Lopez and Addy Perlman and Sophomore Class Senator Talal Widatalla hosted a bracelet-making workshop in Brody Café.
Al-Jabi-Lopez said that she found the events last semester to be fun and relaxing, which is why she was eager to continue the tradition this semester.
“Today is only the second day of this semester’s Wellness Week but I hope it’s making an impact. Even if it’s just a little bit out of your day, it will definitely make a difference,” she said.
Widatalla stressed that even smaller events like a bracelet-making workshop have an impact.
“Bracelets are great because you can make them sentimental,” he said. “It may just be a cheap old bracelet but it’s meaningful.”
Widatalla and Al-Jabi-Lopez explained that although they did not plan last semester’s Wellness Week, they attended some events.
The Rec Center also held a free group F45 class on Wednesday.
SGA will conclude its Wellness Week with two events on Friday, inviting the Hopkins community to a Healing Space in the Interfaith Center and distributing free breakfast at Brody Terrace.
Wellness Week is a recent initiative, created last year by former Senior Class Senator Claire Gorman and aimed at promoting student health and wellness.
This year, Senior Class Senator Chanel Lee wanted to continue Gorman’s work and make Wellness Week a semesterly tradition, brought to the students by SGA’s Health, Safety and Sustainability (HSS) Committee.
This year, HSS combined activities from last semester with new events.
Lee discussed the overarching purpose of the week, pointing out that it is not designed to be a one-step solution to mental health issues at the University.
“In no way are any of these events designed to combat our issue of mental health on this campus nor are they an all-encompassing cure. We are all students like everyone else, and we do not claim to have the magic formula for solving mental health and wellness, but normalizing and celebrating health and wellness should be the first steps to improving our campus wellbeing,” Lee wrote.