Resource portal under development

Portal to act as virtual help desk for students, will be available by end of spring semester

%E2%80%9CThe+idea+behind+it+is+that+because+we+have+no+physical+help+desk+to+go+to%2C+having+a+place+that+students+can+just+click+on+a+link+%E2%80%A6+and+then+be+directed+to+all+these+different+resources%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Brianna+Kostecka%2C+ASWSU+deputy+director+of+academic+affairs.

SCREENSHOT OF MEETING

“The idea behind it is that because we have no physical help desk to go to, having a place that students can just click on a link … and then be directed to all these different resources,” said Brianna Kostecka, ASWSU deputy director of academic affairs.

ABBY DAVIS, Evergreen deputy news editor

Students might have the opportunity to access mental health, food insecurity and academic resources in a portal available through Blackboard and Canvas.

Brianna Kostecka, ASWSU deputy director of academic affairs, discussed the portal’s development during an ASWSU Senate meeting Wednesday. 

The portal was a response to a proposal made to the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee, which sought to expand instructor syllabi to include more campus resources, she said.

Faculty Senate members said the proposal would take away from the academic purpose of the syllabus. Kostecka said she is suggesting a virtual help desk for students, which would allow faculty members to keep their syllabi focused on academics. 

“The idea behind it is that because we have no physical help desk to go to, having a place that students can just click on a link … and then be directed to all these different resources,” she said.

Oluwanifemi “Nife” Shola-Dare, WSU student and author of the proposal sent to Faculty Senate, said she hopes faculty members are able to confidently refer students to different resources. 

“Our instructors, whether we like it or not, are in gatekeeper positions,” she said. “They’re interacting with students on a daily basis.”

Shola-Dare said she hopes faculty members realize students’ academic workload can be a contributing factor to mental illnesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We should begin to think of a more collaborative method of addressing these issues, rather than just leaving the job to students,” she said. 

The portal is still in its early stages of development. Kostecka said she hopes to create the portal by the end of the semester.

“I would love to get [the portal] done as soon as possible because this is critical for the online environment,” she said.

ASWSU Senator Lauren Slater said she hopes Kostecka will include LGBTQ+ hotlines like The Trevor Project, as well as national and local resources for students who are not in Pullman. 

Kostecka said she is encouraging departments to offer Adobe Creative Suite to students free of charge. 

ASWSU had an $18,000 budget cut last semester. To reduce spending, ASWSU reduced legislative travels and other miscellaneous spending, said Jhordin Prescott, ASWSU chief of staff and finance.

“We’re still looking into different ways to make sure our budget is equal to that $18,000 cut,” Prescott said.