At its weekly general body meeting on Feb. 28, the Student Government Association (SGA) heard presentations about the University’s new Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team (BHCST) and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s upcoming climate survey. They also discussed the forthcoming Student Resources List as well as the Health, Safety and Sustainability (HSS) Committee’s recent Meat the Future Movie Night. SGA received funding requests for the Puerto Rican Student Association’s (PRSA) Roast Off event and the Menstrual Hygiene Gap event.
Behavioral Health Crisis Support Team presentation
Kim Sutter, the BHCST’s lead clinician, and other members of the BHCST explained the team’s purpose and functions.
- The BHCST is a team of mental health professionals who respond 24/7 to mental health crises on the Homewood and Peabody campuses in tandem with public safety in order to provide assessments and support for those experiencing crises. Sutter noted that the team expects to expand to the East Baltimore campus by the end of the year.
- Sutter clarified that the BHCST is separate from the Counseling Center and all other mental health resources on campus.
- Sutter mentioned that students can call the BHCST’s 24/7 access line to report a crisis, seek help for themselves or consult with a member of the team about others they are concerned about. “You can consult with us without giving [their] name,” she said. “[You can] just say, look, my roommate said this or I overheard this... what’s my best response?”
- Sophomore Class Senator Dalhart Dobbs asked what the SGA can do to support the BHCST. Sutter responded that they can help by spreading awareness, such as putting out resources at tabling events.
Office of Diversity and Inclusion climate survey
Emil Cunningham, the assistant vice provost for diversity and inclusion and deputy chief diversity officer, spoke about the Hopkins climate survey, which will roll out on March 21.
- Cunningham stated that his office’s goal is to garner 50% participation in the survey across all campuses. He emphasized that the best way SGA can help is by encouraging students to take the survey. “Please tell your friends [and constituents] to take the survey, because if you don’t... engage with the survey, we won’t be able to capture the information we need in order to do better,“ he said.
- Cunningham outlined the timeline for the process, explaining that the project will likely reach its final stage between October and December of 2023.
- He added that the University will offer incentives for Hopkins affiliates to complete the survey, including a technology giveaway, donations to a charity of choice, parking or transit passes, tickets to events in Baltimore and Hopkins merchandise.
- Sophomore Class Senator Jackson Morris asked how long the survey will take to complete. Cunningham responded that, while the survey provides space for Hopkins affiliates who have a lot to express, most students will be able to complete the survey in 10 - 20 minutes.
- Sophomore Class Senator Brandon Benjamin questioned how often the University plans to conduct campus-wide climate surveys. Cunningham answered that it will likely be every three to five years, since the process of developing, administering and acting on the results of the survey takes about a year.
Discussion of student resources list
Morris presented an idea for the SGA to compile a list of priority campus resources for freshmen.
- Morris explained that the list would make it easier for freshmen to identify helpful resources. “Hopefully [we can] have something that Hopkins can... provide to people coming in so that people aren’t discovering things that they would have had access to for four years as juniors,” he said.
- He clarified that the SGA will compile the list and then share it with the Office of Orientation and First-Year Experience.
Meat the Future Movie report
The Committee on Health, Safety and Sustainability’s Meat the Future Movie Night event took place on Feb. 23. Junior Class Senator Rachel Huang shared the results of the event.
- While only 43 of the expected 60 people attended, Huang noted that this attendance is higher than similar previous events.
Executive President Breanna Soldatelli presented freshman Luc Mazzanobile, sophomore Simon Messineo, sophomore Ava Lasmanis and junior Chris Khoury as her nominees for four open positions on the judiciary committee.
- According to Soldatelli, she sent out the application in January. 24 applicants participated in individual interviews, group interviews and an example scenario. The scores from these four components were used to select the final four nominees.
- The senate unanimously voted to confirm all nominees.
Roast Off presentation and funding
The Puerto Rican Student Association presented its plans for a Roast Off event, a multicultural cooking competition that will bring together many of the University’s cultural organizations. The PRSA requested $1,230 from SGA to fund the event along with the $500 the PRSA intends to raise.
- The PRSA members stated that they estimated the cost of the prizes based on SGA’s discount on items from Barnes and Noble. Soldatelli clarified that the discount is only 20% off.
- Executive Vice President Kobi Khong recommended that the senate table the bill for funding because the PRSA will need to recalculate the cost of the prizes.
Menstrual Hygiene Gap Event
Huang gave a presentation about the Menstrual Hygiene Gap Event, which the HSS is planning in collaboration with Wings, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Beta Mu Delta for March 8, which is International Women’s Day.
- Huang explained that the event will focus on assembling care packages of menstrual hygiene products and distributing them to the Baltimore community. She mentioned that the event will also include a panel featuring several speakers who work on menstrual equity.
- Huang requested $771.45 to cover the cost of the event.
- The bill passed unanimously.
Editor’s note: Milton Diaz is a Marketing Manager for The News-Letter and Resham Talwar is a Finance Manager for The News-Letter. They did not contribute to the reporting, writing or editing of this article.