A coalition of student leaders in Texas colleges have a message to spread and a myth to bust.
The College Health Alliance of Texas includes 36 student body leaders representing 20 colleges and universities across Texas. Their goal is to lead their fellow students in adopting consistent, safe practices to combat COVID-19, so campuses can stay open. And, according to Daniel Sherman, Student Government Association president at Abilene Christian University, while they’re at it, they’d like to show the public that college students can be responsible community members.
“Especially as college campuses started opening, there was this idea that young people are going out all the time and think they’re immune,” Sherman said. “We wanted to dispel this idea that young people are careless. We care about not only our college community but public health in a broader sense.”
CHAT provided student guides to its member schools with information about best practices for slowing the spread of COVID-19, ideas for socially distanced activities, tips for talking to friends who aren’t following health guidelines, and even ideas of how to pass time in quarantine.
“The narrative we’re trying to promote on campus is the spirit of ‘do your part,’” Sherman said. “If you care about others as a Christian and you care about your college experience, do your part.”
Austin Hickle, student body vice president at Southern Methodist University, founded CHAT and reached out to other student body leaders, including Sherman, to join him. ACU’s SGA vice president, Amy Brock, is also a member. CHAT is in the process of surveying students at colleges and universities and hopes to use the survey data to share with local and state officials to help them communicate better with this demographic.