Congratulations to October’s Chapter of the Month, Indiana University — Purdue University Fort Wayne! All of us at the national office are so proud of what they have accomplished on their campus. They have truly done a terrific job raising awareness and getting their peers to fight stigma.
One of their initiatives this fall was a “Stomp Out Stigma” campaign. IPFW Chapter members had some paint, a banner, a strong message, and a boot. Students were asked to figuratively, and literally, “stomp” out the stigma that engenders a negative view toward mental illness. These boots were not made for walking… they were made for stigma fighting!
Other amazing achievements include “Laugh More Game Night,” providing information about Active Minds to freshmen at orientation, tabling for suicide prevention week – which also included community performers and poets. (And this is all since the beginning of this school year!)
In the past, IPFW has demonstrated their ability to involve students outside of Active Minds, using their ingenuity to attract students of all kinds! Ideas like therapy pet events, share a smile, positivity note chains, wing nights, and movie nights, have made their chapter a clear presence on campus.
Not only have they successfully advocated for mental health on campus, but they also take part in the initiatives of the Fort Wayne community. Last year, they participated in a suicide prevention walk, which was organized by Fort Wayne. They also had a poignant fundraising campaign in which they sold purple utility flags to commemorate lost loved ones.
Some of their other countless endeavors include Valentine’s Day candy gram fundraisers, holding discussions regarding eating disorders during Eating Disorder Awareness Week, participating in IPFW’s Wellness Fair, a Bowl-a-Thon, helping with the a walk for eating disorders, Stress Less Week, and many more. The faculty and students of IPFW are aware of Active Minds and the role the chapter plays. The chapter has advocated for and achieved policy change on a campus-wide level; they are in the final stages of adding the number for a suicide-prevention hotline to the back of student IDs. Additionally, they have been invited to events and asked to contribute whenever the topic of suicide prevention comes up. This awareness has led to a growing interest and buzz in regards to the conversation about mental health. IPFW also has a grant called COMPASS training, which trains individuals to aid in suicide prevention. Many of the Active Minds chapter members have taken the training and have done their part in promoting it to others.
It is also notable to mention that IPFW manages to successfully run their Active Minds chapter and engage other students on a commuter campus! (This is no easy feat.) Chapter President, Manal Saeed, attributes their successes to the contributions of chapter members. “Thankfully there are great members that are always bringing their A-game, and [are] ready to go with great energy and initiatives that are new and upbeat, and keep our campus as well as our community hungry and excited for more.” She also stated that much of their ability to connect and attract members is the way in which they approach them. “Our biggest help is not telling them to join yet another organization, but [to] join a family of fun and incredible experiences.”
It is easy to see why Active Minds at IPFW does such a great job! The way Manal speaks about the dedication and passion of her fellow members reflects the highest degree of respect. However, she does continue to stress the vital role that student advisor and counselor Floie Stouder plays. “She is the best part of our chapter, and we, the officers, are super lucky to be working with her, and aren’t able to put into words how much she has supported us and how much we appreciate her dedication to our chapter!”
Thank you Active Minds at IPFW for all that you do for your community! We are certain that this school year will be filled with even more successes and strides towards eliminating the stigma. Keep it up!