UW-Madison counseling services noticed an increase in student demand as the impact of last Tuesday’s tragedy set in, but requests have leveled off this week.
Bob McGrath, director of the Counseling and Consultation Services, 905 University Ave., said each day after the terrorist attacks the number of students requesting the school’s counseling services went up.
“Today we’re seeing a few more people that were clearly directly affected,” McGrath said Friday. “We’re experiencing a steady number of people coming in and calling.”
But this week, McGrath said, those numbers are already beginning to even out, and even decrease.
UW Interim Provost Gary Sandefur also said as the realization of Tuesday’s attacks settle in, more students are leaving the campus.
“Some have gone back to the East Coast,” Sandefur said. “We don’t know how many, but we know some have.”
The university spent the week offering counseling and solace to the many students who may have lost friends or family in the incident. However, most classes remained in session. UW has 502 students enrolled from New York.
Many UW officials are concerned students may not know where to turn for help. Some are worried upset students may be lost in the crowd.
“In a situation like this it’s important to have people to have meaningful conversations with,” said Katherine Loving, civic-engagement coordinator for University Health Services. “The most important thing is that students not be isolated. In the coming days we’re going to need to be able to turn to our social networks.”
Both McGrath and UW Dean of Students Alicia Chavez said, though the tragedy impacted the emotions of students across the campus, only a handful notified them of any direct personal involvement.
“We have not seen that many requests,” Chavez said. “My interpretation of that is that they’ve had really good luck working with staff or faculty on their own. That’s the best we can hope for. That means we didn’t need to get involved on a higher level.”
Chavez said the main way students seem to be coping is not through the Dean of Students Office or the CCS, but through the multitude of rallies and vigils set up by various student organizations.
Students also had unique access to counselors in the form of “crisis debriefings” set up by University Health Services. These forums provided university residence halls and other requesting organizations an opportunity to meet as a group to discuss the events.
McGrath said he noticed most students prefer this to one-on-one counseling, because most concerns were of a general response to the tragedy itself.
“The primary thing we do is create a forum for them to talk,” McGrath said.
Besides counseling opportunities, UW hosted a community-wide memorial on Library Mall, canceled Friday afternoon classes and extended crucial deadlines.
UW System President Katharine Lyall announced the extension of the drop/add date until last Thursday. Students will now be able to drop classes with a full tuition refund until Sept. 21.
“Some students have returned home, and we didn’t want to penalize them for being unable to drop or add classes,” Sandefur said.
For updates and details: http://www.news.wisc.edu/response.html