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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

SGA senator pushes for legislation to give students an annual mental health day

Faculty Senate to vote on Wildcat Pause Day bill May 14
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Anna Coke is pushing to pass legislature through SGA that would give students a mental health day each year. This would be officially named Wildcat Pause Day. (Photo courtesy of Anna Coke)
Anna Coke is pushing to pass legislature through SGA that would give students a mental health day each year. This would be officially named ‘Wildcat Pause Day.’ (Photo courtesy of Anna Coke)

Anna Coke, strategic oversight committee chair for the Student Governing Association, is pushing legislation for Wildcat Pause Day to give Kansas State students and faculty a designated mental health day in the fall semester. 

“[It would be] a complete day off for all students, and ideally a shortened day for staff and faculty so they can also benefit from it, ideally in October,” Coke, sophomore in regional and community planning, said. “We’re going for a Monday or a Friday. It’s likely going to be a Friday.”

Coke said she developed the idea after witnessing the stress of her peers.

“I was just hearing my friends and some other students talking about like, ‘I just need a break,’” Coke said. “‘I just like need a day where I can catch up on homework or just relax.’ And so I figured, oh, this is something I’m hearing from a lot of students. I might as well see if there’s anything that I can do.”

Coke said Wildcat Pause Day would be beneficial to students’ mental health and give them something to look forward to. 

“The Student of Concern reports skyrocket,” Coke said. “Anxiety, stress, depression — all of those skyrocket in October specifically, so my goal is for this day to be something that people … push toward.”

Coke said a mental health day could also increase attendance rates. 

“I know I’ve skipped class before because I’m just like, not mentally up for it because I don’t have anything close to look forward to,” Coke said. “But I know if I have a day off in two weeks, I’m gonna be like, ‘Okay, I can make it two more weeks and then have my day off.’”

Coke said student response to the idea of Wildcat Pause Day was positive. 

“I started Snapchat polls, so if you saw some stuff on Snapchat, that was me,” Coke said. “I got 1,500 students to say that they wanted this day, and so that’s really what started moving this train along.” 

Coke said passing legislation through SGA is a lengthy process. 

“I wrote it [the bill] up,” Coke said. “I was talking with people, and I sent it out to them … and I got quite a few sponsors. And so once I introduced it to student senate, then it got sent to one of the committees within SGA, which happens to be the one that I was on … and then it got sent back to student senate, and that is when it got voted on and passed. I didn’t see anyone vote against it, so it was pretty unanimous on the student side.” 

Coke said the bill then had to go through several other committees.

“Instead of having it [the bill] go 2024-on and be a permanent thing, [Academic Affairs Committee] wants to give it a three-year trial period, which I’m all for,” Coke said. “Let’s make sure it works before we establish it.”

Faculty Senate will meet May 14 to discuss and vote on the Wildcat Pause Day legislation.

“We’re almost there,” Coke said. “Two more weeks, and then hopefully we’ll have an answer.” 

Coke said the best way students can support the Wildcat Pause Day legislation is to “show up.” 

“Really being able to talk with people about it so it’s a widespread conversation around campus,” Coke said. “I think that’s going to do wonders.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith McCalmon
Meredith McCalmon, news editor
News editor for 2023-24. Previously writer for 2022-23.
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