This is my first year as a member of the SAC and let me tell you, friend, I am so glad that I applied. Being on the SAC is unique in the sense that it’s not a paid job, it’s not an internship, and it’s probably not like any other volunteering you’ve ever done. It’s hard to describe what being on the SAC is like, but if you love Active Minds and are still going to be a student next academic year, read on for my top 4 reasons why you should think about applyig:
1. Having an even greater say in the things that affect your chapter
You know the National staff loves to hear from you anyways, right? Good. Not going to lie, I can’t imagine myself just emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with some random initiative idea that I had while trying to fall asleep last night (not to say you can’t do that)! One of great things about being on the SAC is that the staff actively asks us for feedback and ideas based on what we see as needs of our campus populations. Honestly, it’s a cool position to be in, and it’s definitely made me reflect more on what my campus is doing well or not so well and what my chapter can do to help.
And if your brain is just overflowing with ideas about programs, fundraising, and new initiatives, you can stop reading at this point and just go ahead and apply now.
2. Making new friends
If your chapter’s anything like mine, your meetings are half business and half hangout sessions with friends. Why? Because you appreciate and support each other, and you’re confident that you can talk candidly about mental health and personal issues without that lack of understanding that sometimes exists in other social circles. Getting together with the SAC is like a big chapter meeting… except you’re all from different schools and have different experiences to share. Even having only met my fellow SAC members once or twice each (at the spring retreat in April and at conference in November), I feel like some strong friendships have been made and I know that this group of peers has my back. If I have a question regarding my chapter, schoolwork, or mental health I can reach out to this group of folks and they’ll help me out. That’s pretty dang special.
3. Working with the National staff!
Behind each of those great emails about chapter resources, news and announcements, or copious reminders to fill out this semester’s chapter inventory is a great staff member. As a chapter member, you might only communicate with a few of them but let me assure you, behind all of the work that Active Minds does and the support that they give us across the country is a lot of time spent networking with other organizations and media outlets, answering emails, and expanding on all the great stuff we’re already doing. All of it is made possible by this small group of incredibly dedicated folks. Personally, I find that pretty inspiring. Also, they’re all really nice, I promise.
4. It’s great experience and a big resume booster
Obviously the resume boost isn’t the most important thing, but it’s a great side effect if you want to go into mental health advocacy or work for a non-profit in the future. While all of the work I’ve done as part of the SAC has been rewarding and the experience has been like no other, it’s also been quite rewarding to learn a bit about the operational side of Active Minds at the national level. Maybe it’s just me but seeing how things work under the surface of what we do gives me plenty of ideas (more of them than I have time to act on!) and insights to take back to my own chapter and campus community.
Like what you’ve read so far? Have ideas that you want to share with the entire Active Minds network? Itching to meet some of your peers from all around the country? Apply for the SAC before January 15!