JCU Hosts Community Health and Safety Week
On September 4th – 8th, JCU hosted a Community Health and Safety Week, a series of events that focused on such topics as assault, self-defense, racism, sexual and mental health. These events were created and planned entirely for students, by students, as a result of a collaboration between Student Government and the Women’s Leadership Initiative, with logistical support from the Office of Health and Wellbeing. Guests included JCU’s Title IX Coordinator and Responsible Employees, physicians, mental health counselors, guest martial arts instructors, and JCU’s cultural clubs.
The week kicked off with a Title IX information session entitled “I Was Assaulted, What Can I Do?” Following, there was “Wait, Do You Have a Condom?”, which dealt with issues such as sexual consent, birth control, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. The next session, hosted by guest martial arts instructors, was an actual self-defense class that gave students practical advice on how to protect themselves.
Club leaders encouraged participants to share their personal experiences in an open forum and the most discussed issues were language and immigration. In particular, a great number of participants talked about experiencing prejudice and discrimination while living in a foreign country where they weren’t native speakers. The impact of racial stereotypes and ignorance, as well as the importance of education, was also widely discussed during the lecture. As MCC president Quinlan Davenport later highlighted, “ignorance ends with education.” At the end of the event, the group leaders urged the audience to keep an open mind, not to be bystanders, and, most importantly, to be tolerant, as the some of the best ways to deal with racism.
The last event of the week, “Are You Feeling Okay?” hosted by JCU clinical psychologists, provided training in mental health first aid, including insights on how to identify warning signs of severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
Community Health & Safety Week (CHSW) is a student-led initiative that aims to provide students with the knowledge of the various resources available at JCU in overall support of their (and the larger community’s) well-being. “We wanted to give students life-saving information as well as a space for them to ask questions and meet the people on campus who are available to help them with whatever they may need. It was essential that we started these conversations especially if the subject matter is stigmatized,” said Katie Kehoe, president of JCU Student Government. “I want all students at JCU to feel safe, welcome, and comfortable at the university and I hope that the information we distributed during Community Health and Safety Week contributes to that sentiment.”