In 1971, the UR Student Health Advisory Committee (URSHAC) was formed with the goal of helping advise the director and staff at University Health Services about how they can provide better care and service to students. Over the years, URSHAC has become more involved with the development of student initiatives regarding health and wellness promotion.
In an interview, Co-Chair and junior Tristan Ford revealed his thoughts on what the future potentially holds for students.
“Some projects already in the works for this semester include more work with Dining services to improve access to fruits and vegetables,” Ford said. “Co-Chair and Wellness Coordinator Rebecca Bergman has been instrumental in leading this in the past. I will also be reexamining smoke-free campus efforts to see if now is a better time to focus our efforts.”
Ford went on to share another student-run project by URSHAC members Zaira Lujan and Rebecca Block, who recently submitted a 5K Challenge proposal to offer free tampons in select restrooms on the River Campus. “If the proposal wins,” he said, “the committee will be working hard to help plan logistics and secure additional funding for the program’s future.”
Although each project has a high potential for being pushed through to success, Ford noted that not all of URSHAC’s projects have been successful in the past. He explained his attempt to make UR a smoke-free campus: “As of October 2015, 1620 colleges were 100-percent smoke free. I personally took on the project through my roles as an SA Senator for the Class of 2017, and as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee. Through the committee, we organized an open forum to try and discuss what each party wanted and try to get a better grasp of what policy changes were realistic and what weren’t. It wasn’t well attended. Later that semester, I personally pushed for policy changes through Senate, but was met with apathy, denial, unjust claims, and attacks on my credibility.”
On the other end of the spectrum, URSHAC has also had a number of effective projects. “Our most public success has been the Condom Express, led by our Deputy Chair Alyssa Lemire, Project Leader Rachel Shechter, and several students who volunteer their time every week. We wanted students to have convenient free access to contraceptives without fear of judgement. So we developed a project to anonymously deliver condoms (both male and female), dental dams, lube, and STI information directly to students’ CPU boxes for free. All we really had to do was manage the logistics of the program […] but we’re trying our best to improve the speed, and hundreds of students have already utilized the program.”