Launch Project to provide virtual sessions for students


Going to college, for most students, means independence and new experiences, but it can also be stressful and difficult.

The Launch Project was created to be an "interactive program to help CMU students develop skills for personal growth, adulting and success," according to the Office of Residence Life website. 

Each semester, care advocates host virtual sessions to help students transition to college and further their independence and confidence.

The Launch Project provides another outlet for students struggling with mental health, Care Advocate Sydney Davis said. She mentioned that counseling can be a great source for some people, but for those who do not feel comfortable, these discussions are another option. 

“It's a way to normalize conversations, it's a way to give space for students to interact and have deeper connections and interactions with each other,” Davis said. “And also for us, (it is a chance) to stay connected with students on campus.”

All Launch Project sessions are confidential, and attendees are not forced to participate or share information if the student is not comfortable, Davis said. Participants are welcome to just simply sit in and listen.  

This semester, four sessions were planned, each on a different topic. The last discussion, held on Jan. 20, was about intention setting. The next three sessions are being held today, Feb. 3, and Feb. 10  over WebEx.

Care Advocate Marissa Messenger will present at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. Her session is about boundaries. To her, the ability to say “no” in an uncomfortable situation is a very important thing for all students, she said.

“We talk about the difference between being self-aware of personal needs, being selfish and balancing those,” Messenger said. “We talk about how to have assertive communication, and what that looks like. Also, how to balance all of the responsibilities that you have in college between your social life, going to school and relationships.”

Messenger pointed out that students don’t always realize boundaries are being crossed. Being able to turn down a social event in order to study for a test or denying someone physically in a romantic relationship can be difficult. This is why Messenger believes it is a crucial topic to discuss, especially during years as college students.

Davis's discussion for this semester will be based on relationships with family, friends and significant others. The session will take place at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 10.

Relationships are a major component in our everyday lives, Davis said. Right now, some people are starting their first-ever serious romantic relationship. It is also the first time for many to be sharing a room with someone or living with other people who are not a part of their family. 

“To me, it's a time period where it's very common for people to have some sort of relationship issues, and it's something that a lot of people don't get taught,” Davis said. “How do I communicate? How do I deal with conflict management? How do I start healthy boundaries? This goes for lots of different types of relationships.”