StuGov senator reintroduces mental health syllabus requirement, changes made


Juan Bibiloni, senator for the Inter-Residence Hall Association, attends the Student Government meeting on Aug. 23, 2017. 

Alex Connor

After getting elected as a write-in last spring, Student Government Sen. Juan Bibiloni knew he wanted to raise awareness of mental wellness resources on campus in some capacity.

Over the summer, he began researching what other universities were doing to get the message out there.

“I saw that … some [universities] had implemented a policy where they listed common symptoms of anxiety and depression and resources they have on their respective campus,” Bibiloni said. “I was like, well, that would be a cool thing to bring to Iowa State.”

A beneficial way to do this, Bibiloni thought, would be through a requirement on the syllabus to list these resources. 

“When someone starts having problems regarding their mental wellness, it’s a snowball effect,” he said. “I think that student awareness of the resources they have is incredibly important.”

Bibiloni then drafted a resolution on the requirement that was introduced at the first senate meeting of the year and debated at the second meeting. After amendment, the resolution will be reintroduced Wednesday.

At that time, the resolution would request a mental health syllabus requirement from the Faculty Senate that would establish language in course syllabi that “addresses common symptoms of depression/anxiety and resources available on campus for treatment.”

During debate on the resolution, Sen. Wyatt Scheu expressed concern as to whether the requirement might “look like an obligation rather than a passion for students and doing what is best for them.”

It was inevitably postponed with the agreement that Bibiloni would be more specific in its language and need.

With aims of reintroducing the resolution Wednesday, Bibiloni has drafted the legislation to act more as an overall wellness statement. To be inclusive, he met with directors with stakes in student wellness to ensure the statement was overarching. 

“They [the directors] were extremely helpful and had a genuine interest in helping this move along,” Bibiloni said. 

The statement reads as follows:

“Iowa State University is committed to facilitating the proactive well-being of all students. We welcome and encourage students to contact the following on-campus services for assistance regarding their physical, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, environmental, financial, social, and/or emotional needs.”

It will also list contact information for the Student Wellness department, Thielen Student Health Center, Student Counseling Services and Recreation Services. 

“Students dealing with heightened feelings of sadness or hopelessness, thoughts of harm or suicide, or increased anxiety may also utilize the ISU Crisis Text Line (Text ISU to 741-741) or contact the ISU Police Department (515-294-4428),” it reads. 

Bibiloni hopes that the resolution will pass through the Student Government with the current language, as well as through the Faculty Senate.

“Best case scenario is it can go through Faculty Senate sometime before the semester ends and it can be implemented for next semester,” Bibiloni said.

However, Bibiloni is proud of the resolution no matter what.

“It’s so much better than how it started, and I think it’s an embodiment of what happens when all the student leaders come together and pitch in to make something happen,” Bibiloni said.