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Published June 13, 2024

Undergraduate Student Government renames Campus Life Committee

USG rebrands committee and elects new director, signifying a student-centric focus.
Image by Wejdan al Balushi
The intent of the committee won’t change, but the Undergraduate Student Government wanted to show a clearer meaning of what the committee did.

The University of Minnesota’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) renamed its Campus Life Committee this fall to the Student Life and Well-Being Committee.

Though the name change does not change the committee’s role much, it indicates an overall shift to a more student-centric committee.

“The name Student Life and Well-Being was more fitted to what the committee was already doing,” said Andrew Larson, the new elected committee director.

Larson was elected the new director at USG’s Sept. 19 forum

Jenna Monday, a member of USG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, worked briefly with the Campus Life Committee last year to pass two resolutions concerning data transparency and Plan B accessibility. She said the name change allows the committee to devote increased attention to the needs and development of the student body. 

“I think with the name change, the committee can focus more on students. ‘Campus life’ includes a lot of people, including faculty and staff,” Monday said.

As committee director, Larson said he hopes to further initiatives that keep students in mind. Among these are eating disorders, food security, housing issues and safety on campus. 

Larson added that these issues directly impact students’ well-being, academic success and overall college experience, making them crucial focal points for effective governance fostering a supportive and thriving campus community. 

In addition to streamlining access to clubs and resources, the formerly known Campus Life Committee played a crucial part in cultivating a strong support network for students making their way through the University. The committee made sure incoming students could easily integrate into the school community by encouraging a sense of belonging and providing direction, according to the USG website. 

The Campus Life Committee previously worked to engage with students through a variety of outreach activities. According to Monday, one example of this was handing out goodie bags in residence halls last year as a way to support students’ mental health during a stressful finals week. 

Liza Meredith, who has a doctorate in psychology and is a professor at the University, said college students experience unique stressors that can negatively impact their mental health, making it more valuable for the Student Life and Well-Being Committee to emphasize the issue.

“It can be difficult to transition to a new environment, especially a bigger campus where you might be one of 500 students in a class,” Meredith said. “It can be difficult to know what you want to be studying and how to succeed in those classes. So there’s certainly academic stress and for many, maybe a desire to do extremely well.”

A student group like the Student Life and Well-Being Committee, which works to prioritize the well-being of University students through peer-to-peer interaction, is an important peer support system as opposed to professional mental health support on campus, according to Meredith.

“Sometimes you have more trust that a peer can understand what you’re going through and talking to a peer might feel more casual and comfortable,” Meredith said. 

Monday said USG is excited about the future of the Student Life and Well-Being Committee and she “looks forward to seeing what they do this year.”

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