Cockrell School Cares Week focuses on mental health, self care, diversity

Jessica Regan

This week, the Student Engineering Council is hosting its first weeklong campaign to encourage awareness of mental health, self care and diversity, and to promote student engagement with each other.

The council worked with other organizations, both within and outside of engineering, to plan a variety of events, including yoga, mental health workshops and an open mic night. Certain professors within the engineering school are offering extra credit to incentivize higher attendance.

Electrical engineering junior Aashima Garg is the director of Society of Freshmen Engineers and future president of the Student Engineering Council. Aashima said one goal of the week is to engage students who would normally neglect these topics in discussions and in their personal lives.

“In college, everyone should grow, not only academically, but as an individual, so I hope weeks like this will help people make that first step in that growth process and seek out other ways to continue,” Aashima said.

Each day of the week has a specific theme, and Tuesday was “Tell Your Story Tuesday.” The day culminated in an open mic night, where students expressed their feelings and told their stories through performance.

Allison Fang, an electrical and computer engineering sophomore, spoke at the event about personal challenges she had during her first semester.

“I had a really hard time in intro classes (and) it made me question if I wanted to switch,” Fang said. “I spoke to my dad who went through the program here (and) he convinced me to stay, and I’m glad that he did.”

Roli Garg, a chemical and electrical engineering senior and the Student Engineering Council’s vice president of finance, said this event helps students talk about their personal experience.

“These events help students with becoming more open about themselves and with issues we don’t talk about a lot … especially in engineering,” Roli said. “I hope people become more confident in talking to people and with emotional vulnerability.”

The week continues today with “We’re All Engineers Wednesday,” for which the Student Engineering Council will set up chalkboards across campus on which students can write responses to questions, as well as host a workshop and a discussion group.

Aashima said she wants to see events like these throughout the year and into next semester.

“It’s important that we don’t forget about the importance of mental health by next week,” Aashima said. “This week focuses on building a supportive community so people don’t feel alone in the rigor of their major and in the community.”