This story is part of our Orientation 2012 special issue. Check out our complete guide to life at Columbia here.
Columbia is often ranked among the most stressful universities in the country. But last semester, students initiated a variety of grassroots projects designed to promote student wellness on campus.
Campus interest in mental health grew after Columbia College junior Tina Bu committed suicide in October, and as the semester begins, wellness groups will be looking to maintain their momentum from last year and transform their ideas into tangible, long-term changes. Look for groups such as the Student Wellness Project, Active Minds, and the Student Space Initiative to have a strong presence on campus, as they work to foster a dialogue about mental health and push for policy changes.
Last semester, these groups brought therapy dogs to campus during finals week, participated in Columbia’s first-ever Mental Health Awareness Week, and discussed ways to reconfigure communal student spaces, among other projects. Columbia College Dean James Valentini has been a vocal supporter of these efforts, and he told Spectator over the summer that he plans to make student wellness and community-building a priority again this year.
One project to watch this semester is the Pub, a lounge area proposed by the Student Space Initiative that would probably be located in Lerner Hall. The Center for Student Advising will also have a peer advising program for the first time this semester.