Fri-YAYs events designed to better reach out to students

Jackson LaMarReporter

Fri-YAY is a new program ran by graduate intern and advocate Kyle Augustine. It is a weekly program that features a different department during each session. Augustine said he believes this is one of the best ways to reach out to students and give them something they might need.

“This year we want to do more outreach and more programs to reach our students,” said Augustine. “Every week we do something new, a different department comes in and we talk about different ways to become better students.”

This week, Augustine had a program scheduled to help students with midterm stress and mental health, since he perceives both to be a big concern for the student body.

“Last week we talked about sex and different STD’s that some students may not be aware of,” Augustine said. “I thought that, since midterms are coming up, I’d switch it up and talk about stress management and talking about mental health.”

The event featured three members from counseling services. Fri-YAY started with a video of a young man and woman talking about dealing with their mental health problems.

After the video, an open discussion followed in which some students shared their own struggles regarding mental health. Many of the participants asked that their stories and identities remain unnamed.

Afterwards, Counseling Services talked about stress management for the upcoming midterm exams. There was an activity where counseling services asked the students to count how many sources of stress they have. After identifying their number, each student received that many stress balls and were asked to hold on to them at all times and to socialize with the other students in the room.

After talking, Counseling Services asked students if their stress was happening right now as opposed to in the future, and if their stress was theirs to have in the first place. Many students put their stress balls back into a bucket in response.

Many students said they really valued their time, including social work major Ari Rivera, a sophomore.

“I didn’t expect as many people to show up as they did,” Rivera said. “I felt understood. I thought it’d be me and a couple of other people willing to open up about this topic and our personal issues, but there was a good 20 people there.”

Although this event may seem insignificant to some students, for others, like Rivera, it had an important impact.

“I’ve been struggling a lot with my mental health lately,” said Rivera. “I noticed that I have been very distant, and I’m getting more triggered easily, so I thought by coming to this event, it’s giving me a reminder that I’m not the only one going through this right now.”

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