Running mates turn rivals, crisis counseling moves online, Stiegelmeier honored


Jacob Boyko, News Editor

A short-lived Students’ Association campaign for president and vice president fizzled late last week. Now, the former running mates are facing off on competing tickets. 

Hunter Eide, junior human biology major, and Trinity Peterson, sophomore political science and agriculture education double major, were set to run together for president and vice president, respectively. SA Communications Chair Garrett Satterly announced their withdrawal Friday afternoon.

“We want to make it clear there are no hard feelings between the two of us, and we look forward to working together in the future, just not in this capacity,” the campaign said on social media.

Eide’s new running mate for his presidential campaign is Carter Howell, a sophomore agricultural business and business economics double major. Howell does not currently hold a seat in the Senate. 

Peterson joined Nick Grote’s presidential campaign. Grote is a sophomore business economics and entrepreneurial studies major.


Avel eCare

Doug Wermedal, associate vice president for student affairs, and Gregory Wasberg, assistant director of counseling, overviewed SDSU’s new initiative to provide on-the-spot access to a 24/7 behavioral health crisis team. 

Wermedal said the implementation of Avel eCare will help “find the intersection” between serving student health needs and providing relief to staff counselors. 

“You’ve got a staff that’s at capacity combined with intensifying [student] needs,” Wermedal said. 

The service, which is already in use by law enforcement in 42 South Dakota counties, is accessed via a smart tablet. For SDSU counselors, this means that they won’t have to travel to campus after hours when they’re “on call” to assess students’ risk of self harm or suicide.

“Its essential function is to prevent that on-call [counselor] from being necessary right away that night,” Wermedal said. “We need our staff to fully disengage from the work. And if they’re on duty electronically … we’ve done nothing for them in terms of stopping the work. The best thing you can do for a student’s counseling experience is to treat the counseling staff well. Exhausted counselors don’t counsel students well.”

Students can access the crisis line via 111 from a campus landline or 605-688-5117 from anywhere else.

“The officer comes and presents [the student] with an iPad … and hands it to the student and logs in to the Avel eCare system,” Wasberg said. “Then the officer will step away, giving that student privacy. They will meet with the healthcare representative and they will conduct a safety assessment and then also develop a safety plan. The Avel representative will then discuss the safety plan with the officer and make that information available to [the counseling center] the next morning.”

Wasburg said one benefit of the service is that over 90% of the people who used it were able to stay in their homes. 

“When a person is in crisis, being able to feel that connection … even though it’s over an iPad, the immediacy of that is a real upgrade for students,” Wermedal said. “This is just designed to establish the safety plan and bridge them to that appointment the next day.”

Service for SDSU students began Feb. 14. 



Students representing the newly-formed Ski and Snowboard Club presented their plan to the Senate. 

The club plans to host workouts related to skiing and snowboarding, watch related movies and take trips to local ski spots. Membership dues will be between $10 and $15 to help cover costs including lift tickets and transportation. The Senate unanimously approved the club’s constitution. 

Isaac Berg, president of the Collegiate Cattleman’s Club, also presented to the Senate. The junior animal science major said his club will feature speakers, presentations, panels and tours of packing plants, cow-calf operations and feedlots. 

The club’s mission is to “stimulate student interest in the beef industry,” the club constitution reads. The club expects 30 to 40 students will attend initial meetings. The Collegiate Cattleman’s Club will collect dues to fund travel to club events and conventions. 


Other business:

The Senate passed four resolutions and one amendment. 

Resolution 22-21-R expresses SA’s support of South Dakota Senate Bill 118. SB 118 will subsidize a portion of a teachers’ college education. Resolution 22-21-R passed unanimously. 

Amendment 22-22-A adjusts the start days of the SA Senate term. Previously, the second Monday of April was the first meeting of the new Senate. The amendment adjusted the term timeline to begin two Mondays following the election. 

Resolution 22-23-R recognizes SDSU football coach John Stiegelmeier’s accomplishments throughout his career. Accomplishments noted include Stiegelmeier being named North Central Conference Coach of the Year in 1999, his focus on “classroom excellence” and earning the Missouri Valley Conference Team Academic Award ten times since joining the league in 2008, and for leading the Jackrabbits to its first FCS championship.

Resolution 22-23-R passed unanimously. 

Resolution 22-25-R expresses SA’s support for SB 108, which provides “an educational exception to consumption prohibitions for persons over eighteen years of age who are required to taste an alcoholic beverage as part of a course.” The resolution passed unanimously. 

Resolution 23-26-R affirmed SA’s recognition of Black History Month. The resolution passed unanimously.