On Wednesday evening, the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) held the first monthly Joint BSG-Student Affairs Staff Mental Health Board meeting and discussed the work it hopes to continue throughout the semester.
The Mental Health board held its own meeting on Tuesday evening, which was attended by five students as well as Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann, Dean of Students Kristina Bethea Odejimi and Director of Counseling and Wellness Services Roland Mendiola.
In an email to the student body earlier on Tuesday, BSG President Ryan Britt ’22 explained the purpose of the meeting.
“This board intends to provide our student body with a shared space to speak directly with administrators and leadership in our counseling services department so they can hear our voices, opinions and ideas,” Britt wrote.
The meeting focused on a prompt provided in advance: “How can we as an institution move past the divisive narratives about mental health and wellness resources that exist on our campus and replace it with a more collaborative and compassionate narrative? How can we work productively as a student body and administration to reach these goals?”
Britt also highlighted the widespread importance of mental health in his email.
“Mental health and wellness is something that impacts every single one of us on this campus,” Britt wrote. “We must take advantage of this opportunity to do what we can to work collaboratively and respectfully to move towards progress.”
A Mental Health Board meeting will be held each month for the remainder of the academic year. These meetings will occur on March 29, April 19 and May 10 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Britt reported on the inaugural Mental Health Board meeting to the BSG Wednesday evening.
“We had a small group, but a very productive conversation,” Britt said. “I wasn’t really sure what it would look like going in … but people opened up about their own experiences.”
During the meeting, BSG members discussed ways to improve future Mental Health Board Meetings. To increase turnout, they proposed working with The Office of Residential Life to have proctors and residential advisors (RAs) encourage first years to attend these meetings. Other propositions include coordinating with College Houses to spread awareness about the meetings, as well as providing stress balls to participants and serving food at future meetings.
The BSG also discussed continuing initiatives at its meeting. Vice President Andrew Kaleigh ’24 explained that he would soon be convening his ad hoc committee on revising the College’s Academic Honor and Social Code.
“The committee will] review the code to find things we believe need to be changed and bring them to President Rose to advocate for reform,” Kaleigh said.
To conclude the meeting, class presidents discussed class-level initiatives they have been taking in recent weeks. Senior class president Carlos Campos ’22 announced that he has been running weekly “senior nights” at Bolos Kitchen in Brunswick. He explained, however, that there had been issues with non-seniors attending these events, which in turn prevented members of the Class of 2022 from entering.
First year class president Khalil Kilani ’25 also discussed his class council’s class merchandise event held last week as well as continuing efforts to organize events with the College Houses.