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Student Wellness Advisory Board Affords Students a Space to Vent

This past Wednesday, the Student Wellness Advisory Board (SWAB) hosted their weekly meeting called Vent About It.

Throughout the meeting, students discussed an array of topics, including school, personal matters, and any pressing issues that may have been weighing on them. Co-executive director Caidyn Crawford said, “The purpose of Vent About It is to provide a safe space for students to come in and express how they’re feeling or any issues that are on their mind.”

To help students understand and navigate their feelings, SWAB board members receive eight hours of training through Certified Peer Educators (CPE) to equip them with the necessary skills of active listening and advice-giving. Based on their training, board members listen intently to each student’s plight and provide their advice and thoughts to the student afterward.

“There are a series of scenarios you are given, and you have to navigate them,” said SWAB social media manager Alicia Eason. “Of course, they explain proper ways to handle whatever the situation is.”

“During our last meeting, there was a student who came in to vent about some of her life’s problems, and I expressed to her that I was glad she came to talk and get a different opinion on the topic,” said Eason. “I encouraged her to send [that] last text to that friend as closure and go be happy and enjoy her life. Be thankful for what is.”

At the end of the meeting, the board members reassured the students that what was shared would remain confidential. In addition, they further reminded students that the Vent About It meeting is a safe space where students can share whatever they want without feeling judged or scared. 

“SWAB is important to me because it’s about promoting the wellness of students and making sure that they know about the resources we have on campus,” said Crawford. “Being a part of this organization has made me realize that so many students are going through something, and being able to help them really means a lot. It made me realize that my life isn’t just about me, but what I can do to help others.”

Crawford said she’s witnessed students benefit from coming to the meeting, as they can talk to fellow college students who can help them get the resources they need.  

“It also helps them because we help them feel heard,” said Crawford.

"Being a part of SWAB has helped me cope better with my anxiety and overthinking,” said Eason. “I am surrounded by other people who may be going through the same thing or something similar, and talking about these things lets me know I’m not alone.”

As an organization, SWAB decided to host weekly meetings because many things can happen to a person in a week. Meetings are every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the UC, room 208. Students are encouraged to drop in and lay down their burdens.  

For more information on future events, students can go to Tiger Zone and visit the U of M Student Wellness Advisory Board page. 

Students can also check their Instagram @uofmswab to see any other events or meetings they may have planned. 

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