News Article Details

Cougs target mental health, sexual violence

Moscow-Pullman Daily News - 4/12/2018

April 12--A recent health assessment that found 3.2 percent of men and 11.1 percent of women at Washington State University experienced sexual touching without their consent has pushed student leaders to launch a new endowment fund that targets mental health awareness and sexual violence prevention.

The Associated Students of WSU have partnered with the WSU Foundation to form the ASWSU Coug Health Fund, an endowment fund that will funnel donor money toward ventures that help combat sexual violence and break the stigma surrounding

discussions of mental health.

According to the university health assessment that kick-started the effort, based on responses from 3,168 students within the past 12 months, 1.5 percent of WSU men and 2.1 percent of WSU women experienced "sexual penetration without their consent."

The assessment also examined mental health. According to results included in a news release announcing the creation of the Coug Health Fund, 45.9 percent of WSU survey respondents said they had "felt things were hopeless" at some point in the past 12 months, 56.1 percent had "felt overwhelming anxiety," 34.8 percent said they had "felt so depressed that is was difficult to function," 8.8 percent had "seriously considered suicide" and 1.7 percent had "attempted suicide."

Garrett Kalt, vice president for ASWSU, said issues happening both on the WSU campus and nationwide have prompted ASWSU to take action.

"Our WSU community has been affected by the issues of mental health and sexual assault in one way or another, whether that's personally or from a friend that we know," Kalt said. "These two issues are very important to our community, and I hope we continue to advocate and provide the best resources for our student body."

ASWSU President Jordan Frost said the new endowment fund is a major step toward a supportive and safe campus for the entire WSU community.

"Across the country, major student-led movements are taking place, and WSU is joining the ranks," Frost said in a news release. "Safety is the top concern for students as they navigate the world of higher education, and this endowment allows us to take the safety of our campus into our own hands."

Kalt said the fund has likely accumulated $30,000, based on a $25,000 dividend ASWSU recently received from the Bookie and smaller donations from individuals. The goal for the academic year is $50,000, Kalt said.

Donations can be made to the endowment through the WSU Foundation website at https://foundation.wsu.edu/. Funds will go toward projects, events, speakers and trainings pertinent to mental health or sexual assault awareness, Kalt said.

ASWSU will host a 5K race fundraiser for the Coug Health Fund at 10 a.m.April 22 at the Student Rec Center, in partnership with College Hill Custom Threads, the WSU Panhellenic Council and the WSU Interfraternity Council. Pre-registration costs $10, and on-site registration costs $12.

Taylor Nadauld can be reached at (208) 883-4630, by email to tnadauld@dnews.com and on Twitter @tnadauldarg.

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(c)2018 the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho)

Visit the Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho) at www.dnews.com

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