GPSA talks increased budget, mental health

Organization learned of additional $38,000 in funds over summer



Ellen Taylor, associate vice president for Student Engagement, discusses addressing mental and physical health for students as part of one holistic approach during the GPSA meeting Monday at the CUB.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

GPSA approved a new budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year during its meeting Monday evening.

GPSA already had a budget that had been approved when it learned a few months ago about $38,000 allocated to GPSA in an account titled “General Receipts.” GPSA had not tracked that account and was unaware the money could be used.

Over the summer, GPSA worked to keep that money and add it to its budget. The association learned last Wednesday it would be able to keep the funds.

Generally, the university does not allow carry-forward, which means unused funds for organizations can be reallocated for different uses.

“This is an avoidable mistake, and one that we’re not going to make again and one that hopefully Student Involvement’s not going to make again,” GPSA Vice President David Silva said.

With the $38,000, GPSA’s budget this year is $690,250.

“We’re making sure that GPSA is in conversation with [the finance and budget manager] more consistently to make sure if we see something funky, we go and ask that question,” Silva said. “If she sees something funky, she asks us. It’s building human relationships about budget.”

GPSA members also continued previous discussions about mental health.

Ellen Taylor, associate vice president for Student Engagement, was a guest speaker at the meeting.

One of her goals for WSU is for people to be able to talk about mental health without the stigma that typically surrounds it, she said.

“College mental health — that is something I care about a lot,” Taylor said.

She also wants people to take care of their physical health, she said.

“I think this university needs to spend more time seeing mental health as more of a holistic approach,” GPSA President Amir Gilmore said. “I think that’s where the university is going, and I think it’s a really good idea.”

To help support students, GPSA has created a mental health task force and set up regular meetings with Taylor, Gilmore said.

“One of the things about GPSA is that we look at the well-being of students, not just academics,” he said. “If their day-to-day is not good, then we need to do more for students.”