On January 26th, Snow College, along with the Utah Student Association, lobbied at the State Capitol to push for funding toward mental health initiatives across higher education institutes.
The Utah Student Association (USA) represents the interests and preserves the rights of students in higher education in the State of Utah. Along with this, USA works with various government entities to initiate positive changes and be the voice for the students. The association is composed of student leaders across higher education institutes, including Snow College Student Body President Seth Robertson. For the past few years, tackling mental illness has been the focus for the Utah Student Association.
According to utahstudentassociation.org, mental illness corresponds with high dropout rates, low GPA, and an increase in mortality rates. Last year, the USA went to lobby State Legislatures to declare mental health issues to be a public health crisis at Utah higher education institutes, recognize Utah’s high rate of suicide and suicide attempts due to mental health, and strongly urge state agencies, local health authorities, non-profit groups, and higher education entities to seek long-term solutions to the crisis. State legislators responded well and came out with H.C.R. 16 that abided by those statements.
Efforts have been increased throughout Utah higher education institutes to tackle mental illness on campus. This includes mental health weeks to spread awareness, trainings and courses to improve education about mental illness, and allocating student fees to fund resources. Last year, a $10 increase to student fees at Snow College was approved to hire another counselor at the Wellness Center.
This year, Snow College Student Body Advocates joined the Utah Student Association at the Capitol to lobby for funding to create better access to mental health resources on campus and to follow the Board of Regent’s recommendations. Snow College met with Representative Gibson and Representative McKell to address needs and issues that students face at Snow College.
Seth Robertson said, “At the capitol building we represented Snow College as we talked with the legislators. It was a great opportunity to meet some of our representatives in Utah along with students from across the state.”
If students want to find out more information about the Utah Student Association, they can go to www.utahstudentassociation.org.