The College of William and Mary does not offer long term counseling at the Counseling Center. Instead, students must drive or take a bus to off-campus therapists. According to Lexie Mellis ’14, this can cause undue stress on already stressed students with full course loads and other organizational commitments, especially for those who don’t own cars.
To combat this hardship, Student Assembly Chair Kendall Lorenzen ’15 is sponsoring a bill to partially fund the Tribe Rides initiative, spearheaded by Mellis. The bill proposes the allocation of $3,000 to Tribe Rides.
“Students don’t feel particularly supported … and not a lot is going on to actually help them,” Mellis said. “The College does not offer long term counseling for any reason … for students with no car or particularly for students with heavy course loads or jobs where they can’t take a two hour bus ride … cab rides are the only option. …If [the Counseling Center] offered long term care to everyone who asked for it they could only serve the 50 students they received at the beginning of the semester.”
Mellis’s program will offer a 50 percent subsidy for the cost for cab rides to mental healthcare providers. As this is a new program, there is not a to reference to finalize the total funds necessary for the program.
“We don’t know how many students will actually use the program,” Mellis said. “We know how many said they would, which is a lot. … [The proposed program] has already been approved by the Office of the Dean of Students.”
Questions arose as to the transparency of the initiative and how students will apply for the cab subsidies. As mental healthcare is a private problem, the Counseling Center will approve applications to procure these possible subsidies.
“All applications would go through the Dean of Students Office,” Lorenzen said. “Honestly, they won’t be able to have a lot of transparency, but it’s for the best of the students.”
Mellis stated that if the program grows too large, it will shift to a referral based system.
Mellis said the program will only need an additional $1,500 from the SA to help fund the start-up semester. She then plans to apply for various grants to decrease this figure in subsequent years. The success of the start-up semester will determine the grants obtained.
Lorenzen assigned the Tribe Rides Act to the Finance, the Policy and the Outreach committees.
Senator Colin Danly ’15 introduced the Yule Log Act. If passed, the act would allocate $1,000 to Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board to aid in funding the annual tradition.
“[The] two senior honors societies basically need $1,000 to run this cool event and we should give it to them,” Danly said.
Lorenzen introduced the Chillaxin’ All the Time II Act. This act will ensure the continual funding of the massage chairs on the first Swem Library first floor through a $17,700 three-year payment plan.