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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Evaluation of the Wellness Center

<r the Dean of Students office and the Wellness Center will be conducting a review to evaluate how well the Wellness Center meets student needs, and it's a conversation that every Carleton student needs to be involved with. Let's face it, getting sick at Carleton isn't easy, it's a downright pain in the neck. The Wellness Center sends you to Allina Clinic, but the administration discourages student car use, so you have to beg a friend to drive you or wait forty minutes for Northfield Transit or maybe get a taxi voucher (but you have to get an appointment at the Wellness Center to get one). At Allina you're looking at another long wait so that a doctor can prescribe antibiotics so that you can then walk in the cold and snow (or, again, beg that friend with a car) to take you to Econofoods or Northfield Pharmacy to get your prescription filled. The whole process can take two or three days. Sound familiar?

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the Wellness Center staff is doing a fabulous job with the resources and structure that they have available. I also think that it’s high time Carleton’s decision makers decided to make student health care a higher priority. I’m tired of seeing fellow students put off seeking basic medical care because it’s a big hassle and they “don’t have time”. I think it’s a serious problem that Carleton students cannot get the full range of STI tests on campus and that access to these tests isn’t easy to get through TWC. Would a Herpes outbreak among students wake us up? Last Spring HIV mouth swab tests were available on-campus through the Rural Aids Action Network, but why aren’t they always available (and free) at our on-campus health clinic? Why is birth control so much more expensive through TWC than through Planned Parenthood or other subsidy programs, and why isn’t TWC focused more on helping students access the subsidies available?

Other major student concerns include the lack of health care (especially emergency contraception) availability during evenings and weekends, difficulty of getting a Wellness Center appointment, lack of minor injury treatment available to non-Varsity athletes, the high cost of school-facilitated insurance for students from low-income backgrounds, and, let me emphasize it again, the problem of transporting sick students from campus to health clinics and pharmacies in Northfield. Health care isn’t working very well at Carleton.

These problems aren’t TWC’s fault. They’re challenges that only Carleton’s administration at its higher levels (specifically, in its pocketbook) can seriously address. I’m ready to see them addressed, and I hope you are too. Let’s use this review process to really improve health care for Carleton students. Come to the CSA Senate Meeting on Monday (7 pm, Sayles Hill 251) with your concerns and ideas and let’s begin a productive, constructive conversation about how to better keep Carleton healthy.

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