Shorter wait for business students

Counsellor available exclusively to School of Business twice a week at Goodes Hall

Jeannie LeMesurier
Jeannie LeMesurier

For one day a week, undergraduate business students have exclusive access to a Health, Counselling, and Disability Services counsellor at Goodes Hall.

They don’t have to wait the approximately three weeks to see a counsellor at the LaSalle Building if they don’t want to.

If business students prefer to use their exclusive service, they will wait about a week after they book an appointment on the Commerce Society’s website.

“It seemed like a good fit for us to have a counsellor there because among other things, they were able to provide space there [at Goodes],” said Mike Condra, director of Health, Counselling, and Disability Services (HCDS).

The service began during the 2004-05 academic year, when the Commerce Society (ComSoc) Assembly voted to devote a $10,000 one-time endowment to HCDS to bring a personal counsellor to Goodes Hall once a week.

Amanda Chan, current ComSoc VP (external), said the funding came from an annual, $50 opt-outable fee.

The fee, or the core fund, began as a building fund when Goodes was first built, she said, but has since grown into a general fund that can be used to benefit all undergraduate business students.

Chan said all business students can contribute ideas as to how to use the money, which is doled out twice a year, but the final decision is made by the ComSoc Assembly.

There’s a practical need for the business students’ counsellor, she said.

“Our lifestyle is [such] that Goodes is almost a one-stop point for us,” she said, adding that it was primarily for convenience that ComSoc decided to hire a counsellor.

HCDS’s Condra said during the 2005-06 year, the funding for the school’s counsellor switched hands from ComSoc to the School of Business.

When HCDS receives the School of Business’s funding, they hire or use one of its existing counsellors who will work two or three days at the LaSalle building and two days at Goodes Hall.

“If the counsellor is in Goodes Hall, there’s no loss of counselling, because it’s a different source of funding,” Condra said.

The Goodes counsellor receives the same pay as all other counsellors because all counsellors hired by HCDS are effectively paid the same rate.

In May 2006, counsellor Jeannie LeMesurier started working as the personal counsellor at Goodes Hall. The school also added an extra day of counselling for graduate students; MBA and PhD students now have their own day to see LeMesurier too.

LeMesurier said she thinks her presence in Goodes helps students feel more comfortable addressing some of the issues they might be having.

“I know a lot of students wouldn’t come and see me if they had to schedule an appointment [with HCDS].”

She said two of the biggest issues she helps students with are self-injury and eating disorders.

“The number-one issue we see is stress. … A lot of issues to do with perfectionism and expectations,” she said.

LeMesurier said she uses principles of sport psychology when talking to students.

“I’m working with what’s positive. I think that’s why they wanted someone here.”

She said the busyness of her schedule depends on the time of year. In December, it was very busy, and at the beginning of January, it was calmer.

“Now it’s picking up again,” she said, adding that she also sees professors who come to consult with her about their students.

For this year’s AMS executive election, each team’s campaign addresses counselling and wait times. Presidential candidate Alvin Tedjo’s team wants to decrease wait times for counselling services while Presidential candidate Kingsley Chak’s team wants to start a peer-counselling service.

Condra said if other faculties approached HCDS with a similar request as the ComSoc’s, HCDS would be open to working out a comparable agreement.

“We’re always delighted to talk to student groups that have an interest in providing counselling for their faculty,” he said.

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