ASWSU, City Council hold joint meeting

Collaborative group created to provide better healthcare for all community



ASWSU members lead the fight song with Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales to close their joint meeting with the Pullman City Council Wednesday night at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center.

DAISY ZAVALA, Evergreen managing editor

City Council and ASWSU members discussed several topics including a collaborative task force dedicated to expand mental health resources in a joint meeting on Wednesday in the Elson S. Floyd Cultural center.

Ann Parks, city council member spoke about a collaborative group composed of WSU faculty staff, city representatives, ASWSU members, and Pullman Regional Hospital staff.

She said their mission is to consider the healthcare needs of both the community and campus members.

The newly developed task force will aim to coordinate services among all members of the community, including students to address mental health needs and physical health needs, Parks said.

“We want to coordinate locally and augment those resources not replace them,” she said.

The task force will also work to identify and manage barriers in order to expand the community’s access to healthcare, as well as implement intervention services, like a suicide hotline, she said.

Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of student affairs said that as a community, Pullman and WSU are struggling to provide mental health resources at a holistic level for the community.

“It’s important to recognize that we have to collaborate to serve not only the students but all of the Whitman County residents,” she said.

Gonzales said in a rural place working together can bring in more resources and understanding in the available networks to refer people to specific services, so they don’t fall through the cracks.

“Without knowing what our struggles are as a community and as a campus, we can’t work to solve these problems,” she said.

Gonzales said data has shown people’s sense of belonging and feelings are connected to their health and wellness. If they have resources available to them they tend to be more successful.

Parks said the task force was formed in the request of President Kirk Schulz and the Faculty Senate.

Parks said they held their first meeting on Dec. 14 to reevaluate their mission statement and develop ways in which the task force can serve the campus and community.