By Lauren Ingeno
The George Washington University’s Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center will be moved to a new, central location on the Foggy Bottom Campus, George Washington President Steven Knapp announced Tuesday.
The relocation of both services from their current K Street offices has been a main goal for the GW Student Association this year.
After presenting a proposal to Dr. Knapp and other GW administrators this semester, the Student Association organized a referendum to allow students to vote for or against the initiative. But prior to the vote, Dr. Knapp decided the university will move forward with the relocation plan.
“I meet with students regularly, and some of the best ideas for advancing the institution have emerged from those conversations,” Dr. Knapp said. “Our Student Association leaders have made a very compelling case for bringing the services together and moving them to the heart of our Foggy Bottom Campus. I have charged what I believe is a strong and talented working group with making this a reality as quickly as possible.”
He has assembled a group of eight individuals who will decide where the centers will be located and create an implementation plan. The group will be chaired by Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski.
Dr. Konwerski said the group envisions creating a space that will provide high-quality service, as well as privacy, comfort and convenience for students.
“As we think about the holistic health of our students, we intend to take time to carefully research how to make the most of this proposal,” he said. “We hope to design a model that will improve students’ access to care and provide more comprehensive support to students’ health through quick, efficient referral to the appropriate service.”
Student Association President Julia Susuni, who will also be a member of the working group, said she is grateful that the GW administration has made this project a priority.
Moving the health services and counseling center to a central location on campus will increase the visibility of both services, Ms. Susuni said.
“It will show the community that GW supports students who are seeking mental and physical health services,” she said.
Ms. Susuni said the relocation will increase efficiency and accessibility, and she hopes it will encourage more students to take advantage of the health services available to them.
Other members of the working group include Student Health Service Medical Director Isabel Goldenberg, Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine, Senior Associate Vice President of Operations Alicia O’Neil Knight, Assistant Vice President of Events and Venues Michael Peller, graduate student and Presidential Administrative Fellow Michelle Suarez and University Counseling Center Director Silvestro Weisner.
For more than a decade the Student Health Service and University Counseling Center have been located in office space adjacent to the Foggy Bottom Campus, in two buildings within a block of each other on K Street, NW.
The ultimate goal of the relocation will be to continue to provide cost-effective, high-quality care to students, while exploring a more integrated care approach, said Dr. Konwerski. And the move may further unify administrative services in support of student health and wellness.
“This will build on cohesion, collaboration and referrals among the top-quality staff who already run these units,” he said. “An emphasis on prevention and wellness increases the likelihood that students will be healthier and fewer will require subsequent treatment services for physical conditions or psychosocial concerns.”