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CAPS to offer support for students before and after the 2020 election

Counseling and Psychological Services at Long Beach State announced during Wednesday’s Associated Students, Inc. Senate meeting that it will be offering pre- and post-election counseling to support students dealing with election-related stress.

 Alexandria Pan, outreach coordinator for CAPS, gave an overview of ongoing support groups that have been adapted to a virtual setting during the pandemic. These groups, including Black Table Talk, Butterfly Healing Circle and Beach Parents, provide meetings for students of color, members of the LGBTQ community and parenting students via Zoom.

 “That includes drop-in spaces in case anyone needs a space to debrief, or they need some tips on self-care and coping,” Pan said. “We also have a workshop for our staff and faculty that we’re providing on supporting students in distress amidst the election.”

 Pre-election support groups will be held on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and post-election support groups will be available on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 from 12 p.m. 1 p.m. 

 According to Toni Flores, commissioner for Assembly Bill 540, undocumented students at CSULB are unable to receive financial aid in the wake of COVID-19. Passed in 2001, AB540 allows students who meet certain criteria to be exempt from paying resident tuition in the California State University system.

Several undocumented students employed by the university have lost their jobs as a result of the corornavirus and have been hung out to dry by not receiving the $1,200 stimulus check many other Americans received earlier this year.

 “A lot of students are finding difficulty because they’re losing their jobs and they can’t apply for [the Free Application for Federal Student Aid],” Flores said.

 According to Isaac Julian, ASI academic affairs officer, students are continuing to have issues with time management and technology. Synchronous and asynchronous courses have been presenting their own challenges for students.

 The Open Lab, the computer lab located in the University Student Union, continues to be the area on campus with the most student traffic, though the number of students visiting campus remains understandably low, according to Xan Balayan, chair of the USU Board of Trustees.

 The Student Recreation and Wellness Center continues to provide outdoor exercise equipment for students through their app, Balayan said.

 Pamela Lewis, director of the Women and Gender Equity Center, discussed changes to her department, including resources for pregnant and parenting students.

 “Our vision statement is always to build a learning environment where we’re empowering citizens to be change agents as they leave CSULB and on campus,” Lewis said. “Everything that we do is rooted in advocacy, community building, education and self-empowerment.”

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