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Student Government President Austin Graber and Vice President Vishesh Bhatia talk to Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen at the Oct. 30 Student Government meeting. Students came to talk about recent controversial events on campus and to address Wintersteen.

*Editor's Note: This article has been edited to clarify that Student Government is considering the TAO application, but has not decided on it yet. It is just one in consideration. The Daily regrets this error.

Student Government is undergoing changes for the upcoming semester to improve mental health as well as diversity and inclusion for students on campus.

Student Body President Austin Graber has his own perspective on what Student Government is.

“I like to say Student Government is students serving students,” Graber said. “Whichever area we feel student life can be enhanced, we then work on projects and work with relevant administration to try and improve on that.”

An area of enhancement for the spring semester is mental health and its accessibility to students. 

“Within mental health, we’ve been working with Student Counseling Services,” Graber said. “The first big thing that will be rolling out this semester is a mental health app.” 

Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) is a mobile therapy assistance device to provide wellness tools, according to the TAO app, and is one of the apps that Student Government is looking into. 

“This app provides 24/7 counseling for students,” Graber said. “This will cut the amount of need at the physical counseling centers and is great for students struggling with mental health issues in the middle of the night.” 

Student Government will be providing funds to support the app and ensure students are aware of its availability, Graber said. 

Creating a comfortable environment in the counseling center is another priority for Student Government in the second semester. 

“We are working on a positive, stress-relieving day,” Graber said. “We want students to know where Student Counseling Services is and want them to feel comfortable with being there, so we came up with this idea of having some stress-relieving dogs in that area for students to visit and play with.” 

Graber mentioned the reevaluation being done on educational courses that meet the U.S. Diversity graduation requirement. 

“We’ve decided to make a subcommittee that will be looking at the outcomes of the current diversity requirement,” Graber said. “The U.S. Diversity requirement was created 19 years ago, but the definition of diversity and inclusion has changed dramatically since then.”  

Graber said diversity and inclusion is becoming a larger part of the student body in the spring semester. 

Heroes Week is a new addition from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Iowa State. 

“Heroes Week is going to highlight a hero from a different identity each day that has been marginalized in the past,” Graber said. “This is to show that these people have made a big impact in the state of Iowa.”

Graber also said the Jack Trice statue being added to tour scripts for potential students looking at Iowa State can be a way to create a more inclusive environment.

“We really want to push for inclusion right when students step on campus,” Graber said. “Prospective students who come to Iowa State will know about Jack Trice, and we can make that an opportunity to talk about diversity.”

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