A visit to an Environment, Health and Safety committee meeting
“It is quarter past, so I think we should start!” The health, environment and safety committee has gathered in the sofas inside the union office and the chairperson Leo is eager to start the meeting. After he has taken the role as secretary upon himself, the committee members are allowed to report everything that has happened at their institutions since the last meeting. But there is not that much to say. The committee is pretty small, just one member from each student council and the chairperson, and many of the institutions have not had any HMS-meetings. So, after reports regarding new microwaves at the centrum of geology and new chairs in the Ecology building, the members do not have much left to say, and Leo takes the word back. He quickly mentions that the list of student rights will be updated, and that there have been discussions about the possibility to have English speaking members in the health, environment and safety committees at the different faculties at the university. After that, he begins to present the results from the” Are you okay?” survey that the committee conducted this spring.
At this point, everyone present seems to become way more interested in the meeting. It is totally quiet when Leo shows the level of stress students feel at the different institutions. The aim with the “Are you okay?” survey was to see how students at the faculty of natural sciences felt, and there were questions about stress, if you feel like you will manage your courses and if you like your study environment, etc. The investigation was successful. 463 answers were received, which corresponds to one third of the students at the faculty. And from those answers, Leo has put together the colourful graphs that he shows the meeting attendants.
The discussions about the graphs are both engaged and touching. Some of the attendees wanted to know why students at their institution had a stress level at the verge of collapse. Other tried to explain different phenomena from their own experiences. What is clearly shown is though that the situation is not the same at the different institutions. Some are good at answering emails, others have students who generally sleep bad. But the fact that a significant amount of the students who answered the survey have sought help for mental illness is a sign that something needs to be done. The work done in the environment, health and safety committee are important, because no student should have a stress level on the verge of collapse.
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