UB should have a health facility on North Campus

UB’s only student health care facility, Michael Hall, is located on South Campus. But six times as many students live on North Campus than South.

South was UB’s original campus before North Campus was built. It would have been inconvenient to create a new facility on North Campus, so Health Services remains in Michael Hall, an outdated facility that does not have an elevator and is therefore not accessible for students with disabilities.

North Campus residents who get sick have to either take a bus or drive to South Campus. But when you’re ill, you may not have the energy or even the ability to get yourself on a bus or drive. And students who have contagious illnesses could end up spreading their sickness to other students on the bus.

Students usually don’t think about how they’re going to access healthcare until it’s too late and they’re already sick. Many students who have never lived on their own may not know how to take care of themselves yet and may feel at a loss in terms of where to seek treatment. Is a cold worth a trip to the doctor? At what point are you sick enough where you have to go to urgent care or the ER?

It would be helpful for Health Services to clarify what types of illness or injury are beyond their scope and what type of treatment would be appropriate, and then provide information on the closest urgent cares and hospitals as well as information on transportation to these facilities.

MASH Urgent Care provides a shuttle from UB to one of their facilities. However, most Spectrum editors were unaware that this service is provided. One editor specifically tried to find if there was transportation available to urgent care, but ended up having to pay for a cab because a Google search and review of UB’s website did not yield any results.

We have watched UB invest millions of dollars in aesthetic projects to impress donors and prospective students while the students who are here now get their concerns swept under the rug. The TA stipend movement is a perfect example of this. The students who are already here should be UB’s priority.

Students who don’t have other insurance have to pay $2,075 per semester for UB insurance. If students are paying that much, they should have access to a convenient, accessible, up-to-date facility. International students have to be on UB insurance and often don’t have cars; in most cases, they have no choice but to use Michael Hall.

Vice President for Student Life Scott Weber said UB is going to solicit feedback from students about the lack of a health facility on North next semester. It is important for students to respond to this call for feedback. The fact that there isn’t a health facility on North Campus is partially on administration, but it’s also on students. While student healthcare should be a priority, we need to speak up on important issues if we ever want concrete changes to occur. If administrators don’t realize that students want a healthcare facility on North Campus, they aren’t going to invest money in it.

Students get busy attending classes, studying, working and participating in extracurricular activities and probably don’t think about access to health care very often — until they get sick and have to deal with the massive inconvenience and at times impossibility of traveling to South Campus while ill. Then they get better and forget about this struggle. So let this serve as a reminder that this is an important issue, even if it doesn’t impact you personally.

A healthcare facility on North Campus is long overdue. Students have a chance to make this happen if we speak up — so find that extra five minutes in your schedule to provide feedback next semester and tell administrators that having access to healthcare on North Campus is essential.

Email: opinion@ubspectrum.com