UMD’s YOU Matter Club hopes to bring mental health event to campus next year

 Illustration by Karli Kruse

Illustration by Karli Kruse

Every year, the UMD Student Association (SA) proposes to the student services fee committee to give a budget to SA. The budget allows SA to do their work and provide grants for other student organizations.

“This year, we asked for $107,100 and we received that and $32,900 extra,” Sean Grote, SA chair of the student organization grant committee, said. “Basically we redistribute students service fees to student organizations that apply for grants.”

In March, members of SA listened to student organizations advocate for why they should receive money. This year, 90 out of close to 300 of student organizations applied for this grant. According to Grote, the average request of money that SA receives from organizations is $2163.84, while the average grant that is given is $1129.30.

“We’re able to fund 52 percent of the total amount requested,” Grote said. “I would love to see the funding for these clubs to go up in the future and I would love to see more organizations apply for this so we can get more funding.”

Among the organizations who applied for the grant, the club YOU Matter applied to get $9,920, but received around $2000. YOU Matter is focused on raising awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Grote said that he wish he could have given more money to this organization as they are planning to put on a meaningful event that cost a bit of money.

“We allocated them $2000, but we’re going to talk to them to let them know to look for other ways to fund the event as it is a huge, important event for our campus and they could get funding from other places as well,” Grote said. “This event would bring in and help a lot of people.”

The event is called Send Silence Packing and is a nationally recognized showcase of donated backpacks that travel around the country. The backpacks represent college students who each year have lost their lives to suicide and is intended to raise awareness about the issue.  

Future vice president of the YOU Matter Club Kalyn Tilton helped start the organization two years ago with other UMD students from the Forest Lake area after a close friend committed suicide. Later, the same organization was started by students from the same area at the Twin Cities campus and at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

“We wanted to bring something to campuses to start suicide prevention and awareness of mental illnesses,” Tilton said.

Next year’s president Jackson Eidsvold has struggled with depression and anxiety himself and said that it affects college students and that there should be a way to let students know that they are not alone.

“I want students coming in to have a better go at it than I did,” Eidsvold said. “Just get them the help they need because for a long time I didn’t, and I didn’t get the help that I needed and there wasn’t that dialogue, so getting people talking about it is important.”

Alec Kemp, future event planner for the YOU Matter club, said that even though the SA could not allocate the money needed for the Send Silence Packing event, they know that giving YOU Matter a little extra money would give the club a little boost to help realize the event.

“The money will help us get to that point along with our own fundraising and partnerships,” Kemp said.

“Suicide claims over 1,000 college student lives per year and that’s a huge number,” Kemp said. “The purpose of Send Silence Packing is to raise awareness of mental health on campus and to give students the resources they need.”

Kemp said that with the right partnerships and fundraising, the club will be able to make the event happen during the next academic year.

“If we can get the backing of other organizations and other people who want to get involved with money and be a part of this event, we can definitely get this done,” Kemp said. “With support from other organizations and involvement through the school, we can accomplish this.”

NewsIdun Rasmussen