Student gov’t unveils health endowment

Fund to help pay for mental health, sexual assault prevention

FORREST HOLT, Evergreen news editor

ASWSU officially rolled out its new Cougar Health Fund on Monday.

The fund, which is set up through the WSU Foundation, will hold a pool of money available to student groups looking to set up mental health and sexual assault prevention programs.

“This endowment was created by students, for students,” ASWSU Vice President Garrett Kalt said.

The fund currently holds about $25,000, Kalt said, some of which came from ASWSU’s Bookie revenue and some from donors. He said he has worked on organizing a 5K fundraiser run to bring in more money, scheduled for April 22, where participants can get a T-shirt for donating.

Miranda Armstrong, a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member who helped set up the endowment, spoke through tears when talking about it. Armstrong described Tyler Hilinski, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in January, as a dear family friend.

“Three months later, there’s not a single day I don’t think about him or his family,” she said.

Armstrong said she hopes the endowment can fund mental health first-aid training, which educates students on how to help people suffering from urgent mental health crises.

“It is something everyone has experienced or someone really close to you has experienced,” Armstrong said.

Alexandra Ranney, who was also on the panel, said funding student programs through the endowment could help reduce stigma around sexual assault victims.

“It is a very prevalent situation on our campus and worldwide,” said Ranney, who also chairs ASWSU’s “It’s On Cougs” sexual violence prevention initiative. “People need to speak up about it.”