Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) serves the student community in myriad ways and calls itself “Vic’s hub for student life.” Part of VUSAC’s structure is the presence of seven, unique commissions that serve student’s needs from social programming to academic development. One of the seven commissions is especially pertinent in a world of COVID-19, the Mental Wellness Commission.
Dorian DiTommaso is the mental wellness commissioner for the academic year 2020–2021. He was elected last spring. “Some commissions serve an advocacy role while others are more events-based. The Mental Wellness Commission straddles both worlds,” says DiTommaso. “This commission advocates for improved mental wellness services for Vic students and plans events related to student mental health on our campus.”
The Mental Wellness Commission is only three years old. “As the newest commission, nothing is set in stone,” says DiTommaso. “There is a lot of opportunity for growth. I hope to leave my mark and help fortify this commission for the future. Obviously, the pandemic has required us to re-think our activities and bump up our web and social media presence so all of this work will help the commission moving forward. ”
In addition to building the commission’s digital presence, a more physical initiative executed by DiTommaso was called Vic Across the Globe. Students from around the world were sent care packages of Vic merchandise to make them feel more connected to the College. “I think this is especially important for first-year students,” says DiTommaso. “It is hard to start a new chapter of your life and these care packages help bring joy to students and build awareness for this commission.”
DiTommaso is in his third year of studies at Vic and he is pursuing a degree in sociology and criminology & sociolegal studies. He personally experienced trying to access health and wellness services and hopes that his knowledge will help other students in need. “It’s very satisfying to lead a commission that promotes mental health,” says DiTommaso. “We are here to help students who are struggling. We can point people to mental health resources and guide people on how to find a therapist, for instance. This commission helps students navigate the system. Our goal is to help and we want Vic students to make use of us.”