The Southern Utah University Student Association held their weekly meeting on Zoom on Tuesday, discussing topics such as students’ mental health, diaper changing stations in bathrooms and club funding.
Vice President of Academics Abbie Jacobsen introduced a bill to “restructure how we think about mental health” by creating a mental health taskforce inside of SUUSA.
Jacobsen and the bill’s committee sent a survey to 485 students asking how comfortable they are to talk to their professors about mental health. The survey indicated that if a statement about mental health were in professors’ syllabuses, students would feel more comfortable approaching their professors for mental health help.
The taskforce will consist of students in the senate as well as one member from SUU’s Care and Support Team. The group will attend academic department and faculty meetings to “educate professors on the best practices to help students with their mental health,” as written in the bill.
The taskforce will assist professors in knowing what they can do to help students and how to recognize when students are in a mental crisis.
The senate motioned to vote on the bill, which passed.
Humanities and Social Sciences Sen. Amanda Walton brought up several ideas to implement within the university. A professor reached out to Walton mentioning they would like diaper changing stations in both male and female restrooms.
Walton found that the campus already has several diaper changing stations and proposed to begin a project to create digital and physical signage to let people know which bathrooms have changing stations.
Non-Traditional Student Services had started working toward this goal which Walton would like to continue “so we can actually see which restrooms have changing stations.”
Walton also shared that a student reached out with concern about the initial application to apply to SUU, which provides only male or female options when specifying gender.
“We’ve made this plan to celebrate diversity and include people with different sexualities and gender identities, yet the first thing they see when they apply to our university is only the options of male or female,” Walton said.
A Utah policy requires all public universities in the state to exclude any options other than male and female, according to Walton.
The senate agreed to form a committee to encourage administration to make a statement against the policy and work with Utah lawmakers. The committee will help draft a statement to provide to administration.
Several clubs submitted funding requests to SUUSA, which were presented by Vice President of Finance Alyssa Sutton.
The Geology Club requested $350 for their members to go on two trips. The money will cover half of the expenses to rent vehicles and pay for gas.
The Rodeo Club requested $2,000 to help pay for participation in five different rodeos taking place throughout the rest of the semester and into the summer. The fund will pay for hotels and gas for personal vehicles to transport horses, other livestock and supplies.
“Rodeoing is very expensive, so everything else we are not giving them is coming out of the members’ pockets,” Sutton said.
The Southern Utah Climbing Club requested $300 from SUUSA to help pay for club activities, crash pads for bouldering and admission to the Contact Climbing gym in St. George.
All three of these club funding requests were approved by the senate.
SUUSA has two more meetings scheduled for this semester on March 16 and March 30 at 1 p.m. in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Living Room. The meeting on March 23 will be replaced by the general election debate for executive council candidates participating in this semester’s election.
Recaps of previous senate meetings can be found on SUU News.
Story by: Tori Jensen
Photos by: Tori Jensen