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Student Affairs, ASM discuss future plans, involvement opportunities

Administrators from Student Affairs attended an Associated Students of Madison meeting Wednesday night to plan the best ways to support students during this academic year. 

Administrators from Student Affairs attended an Associated Students of Madison meeting Wednesday night to plan the best ways to support students during this academic year. 

Image By: Will Cioci

Leaders of the Student Affairs Administration team came to the Associated Students of Madison’s student council meeting Wednesday night to discuss and answer questions about how they can support students in the coming year.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor joined UW-Madison in 2018. Her position is essential to the chancellor's executive team, overseeing the four major departments providing services for students — Student Life, the Wisconsin Union, UHS and University Recreation & Wellbeing. 

All of the administrative team attendees focused on increasing the accessibility and furthering the scope of the resources offered. 

“We know we need to take care of the whole student and that everything that happens in your life impacts academic success,” Reesor said. 

ASM representatives were very interested in learning about the administrative team’s plans for the current academic year as well as ways to participate. Associate Vice Chancellor for Health & Wellbeing and Executive Director of University Health Services Jake Baggot was one of the many to congratulate the students on their activism to improve mental health awareness. 

“Your voice was heard loud and clear last year, especially on the issues of mental health,” Baggot said, referencing ASM’s advocacy last semester for additional mental health support. “Thanks to the feedback we received, we were able to hire 10 new professional counselors.”

Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Identity & Inclusion Gabe Javier also advised ASM representatives on how to become more involved in a broader sense. 

“Be the leaders you are and have conversations around identity talking about the wide spectrum of diversity represented on campus,” he said. 

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Leadership & Community Engagement and Director of Wisconsin Union Mark Guthier also voiced support of the recent campus conversation surrounding student wellbeing. 

“In student leadership and engagement, we talk about wellbeing in terms of how active involvement in activities, programs and events help with balance stress reduction resiliency,” Guthier said. “Those are things we talk about now that we did not talk about in the past.” 

Dean of Students Christina Olstad’s focus is on making sure the staff on campus advocates for the wellbeing of students throughout their time here through “early intervention and prevention” by faculty engagement with students. 

“Noticing when a student hasn’t showed up [to class] in a while — and this can be challenging — but at a previous institution when a faculty member would reach out and say, ‘I haven’t seen this person in a while,’ sometimes it will be nothing, sometimes the student was having a major mental health crisis,” Olstad said.

Reesor emphasized the administrative team’s commitment to helping students and encouraged the representatives to reach out if they needed anything. 

“We are here to make sure we can provide services for all students, but the challenge is getting students to take advantage of these services,” she said.

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