Student Mental Health and Club Allocation Updates

USG roundup for the past few weeks


The Undergraduate Student Government is back in full swing, with this year’s senate focusing on creating positive changes here at UNE. Across campus, students have been struggling with stress and accessing resources, and this week Jen Deburro, dean of students, as well as Dr. Paul Berkner came to discuss these matters with the USG. 

Student Health 

A major part of Mrs. Deburro and Dr. Berkner’s involvement in this week’s meeting was to discuss COVID-19 regulations and student access to the health center. Currently, masking is still required due to the nature of the Delta variant, which has proven to be significantly more infectious than previous strains of COVID-19 have been, especially to those who are considered high risk, such as the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the unvaccinated segments of the population. As masks are continuing to prove to be an effective protective measure against infection, the administration will continue to mandate masks until conditions improve, with regular reassessments on the matter. 

Dr. Berkner provided insight into situations with students connecting to the health center. Issues have arisen from understaffing, a result of a national shortage of workers in the medical field. Students, unfortunately, can’t fill these positions due to legal constraints. Additionally, Dr. Berkner confirmed that while COVID-19 levels have been significantly reduced, it is still possible for students to receive COVID-19 tests at the health center. If you have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, please contact the health center and get tested as soon as possible. 

If you are having trouble contacting the health center, there are other secure channels that you can access, including online scheduling through Medicat (which is constantly monitored), and calling the health center, and/or leaving a message with a call-back number. 

Resolutions & Allocations 

All clubs can request a general operating budget that will be voted on by the student government. This funding can be used for any general club operating budget. Clubs that have requested and received these funds include Applied Exercise Science Club, the Student Nursing Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Pre-veterinary Club, Twisted Stitches, and the Weightlifting Club. 

Other on-campus organizations that have made funding requests include the Scuba Club, which has received funding for divemaster certificates for the club leadership; the Anthropology Club, which has a series of events planned, including a diversity tie-dye along with other cultural, racial, and holiday events; Earth’s Eco, which has a few events planned including bingo, trivia, a bonfire, make-your-own tote bag along with other DIY events, and speed dating; and finally, Pre-Pharmacy Club, who has received funding for a general operating budget, snacks at meetings, and emergency funding. 

Student Life 

Student mental health has been another major issue that has arisen this semester, and the administration has been attempting to alleviate this problem.  Within Student Affairs, a protocol has been established that makes sure a clinician will be on the other end of mental health calls at any time. 

There have also been concerns raised among students concerning COVID relief packages. UNE was previously granted this funding from the federal government; however, this funding has already been allocated to students. If additional assistance is still needed, students should contact the administration to discuss the situation. 

There is much work being done by USG to ensure that students are happy and healthy and that their concerns are being handled. If any problems arise, make sure you reach out to a USG representative. They are a fantastic channel for getting any issues you may have addressed, by a group working towards making the University of New England a better place.