A big congratulations to Ithaca College, our Chapter of the Month for November. All of us at the Active Minds National Office are beyond impressed by your efforts and are proud to be able to share your accomplishments with other members.
By partnering with other departments, organizations, and campus groups, Ithaca has cultivated strong relationships with a diverse range of students. Of these include the Psychology and Sociology Departments, Student Government, Diversity/Multicultural office, Student Health office, Admissions/Orientation, LGBTQ groups, Culturally-based student groups, as well as other health and wellness groups.
This year, Ithaca has accomplished an array of endeavors. Most recently, their chapter shared the most stories on Giving Tuesday, using the hashtag #BecauseofActiveMinds to express how the organization has impacted their lives and communities. They took part in the suicide prevention month campaign, “The World Needs You Here,” selling bracelets to raise funds and awareness.
Their chapter conducted over 8 original programs this quarter, reaching up to 80 active attendees at their Moment of Silence, Moment of Action event; a vigil for suicide prevention and mental health advocacy, at which members called upon their peers to honor the 1,100 students who die by suicide each year, shared resources and invited participants to take part in small group discussions. The display consisted of 1,100 decorated luminaries on the academic quad lawn, which were decorated by students who stopped by the Active Minds table in the week prior to the event.
“The Moment of Silence, Moment of Action” event was their favorite memory from the quarter with us, as it was their first time doing it, causing them to really rally together to pull it off. They also conducted other successful Suicide Prevention Month programming. One being #ReasonsISpeak, tabling, posters, and a student-led panel. They estimate that about 250 students participated or interacted with their Suicide Prevention displays and programs.
The panel for suicide awareness and prevention, entitled “Let’s Talk,” brought together students to share stories about their personal experiences with suicide loss survival and suicide attempt survival. The discussion was subsequently opened up to a Q&A with the audience. Active Minds members, in conjunction with Speak Your Mind, a student panel, moderated the conversation to ensure a safe environment, and also provided information and resources.
Other programs included “Scare Away the Stigma,” a presentation on how certain Halloween tropes perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental health and engender negative views towards individuals with mental illnesses, by way of horror movies, haunted houses in asylums, stigmatized costumes and the like. They also held two other Autumn-themed events, a Trick-Or-Treat Fundraiser, consisting of selling candy, and an Apply Picking & Baking social outing. Additional events include their participation in a walk for suicide prevention and a board game night.
When asked about their chapter’s strengths and their success with Giving Tuesday, their Chapter President, Alex Lopez, stated that they were “amazed at how much we raised, I really didn’t expect it. I think one of the strengths of our chapter is our strong base of general body members who are willing to be vulnerable and share their stories, whether through our Speak Your Mind Panel program or during social media campaigns.”
The integration of “Speak Your Mind” programs into classrooms, has also proven to be a very strong asset in their community. From our standpoint, it seems as though creativity and mere presence on campus are also among their most notable strengths.
Another major achievement was being highlighted by the media. In November, their school publication, The Ithacan, had a piece entitled “CAPS’ wait times increase as more students request services.” The piece described IC Active Minds as a “club dedicated to raising awareness to mental illness on Ithaca College’s campus.”
Just taking a look at their events page on Facebook shows how dedicated the Ithaca Chapter is. They have held countless other events such as, most recently, a general body discussion on Mental Health & Prisons, a Krispy Kreme fundraiser, a Q&A with a psychiatrist. Additionally, much like their Mental Health & Prisons program, they have held programs discussing mental health in relation to veterans, politics, medication, as well as the LGBTQ community and coming out. Even more programming included a family game night, and a Rocky Horror Picture Show Social Event.
This tireless chapter has even more programming in the upcoming week, with “De Stress Fest” taking place December 14, in an effort to promote positive mental health as students commence Finals Week. Chapter members and students alike will be doing yoga, meditating and making arts & crafts. Ithaca’s ingenuity is clear in their choice of craft, making glitter jars, also called “calm down jars.” Students will also be able to play with kinetic sand, and enjoy Moe’s catering.
Keep up the incredible work, Ithaca!! And good luck on finals.