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  • Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

Counseling Center looking to create Active Minds Chapter

By Sydney Umstead, News Reporter

Sabrina Sosa, counseling center outreach coordinator and Brandon Kottwitz, student engagement coordinator, have begun launching an Active Minds Outreach Chapter on campus. The chapter’s focus is on student-led conversations towards topics about mental health, and raising awareness.

While there is no set date for the chapter to begin on campus, the pair are planning to hold an interest meeting early in the spring semester for students who are looking to be a part of the organization. The meeting will consist of information regarding what the club will look like and the creation of an executive board with the intention of building a constitution, and becoming a registered campus club, allowing for funding and the ability to host events.

“Our hope is for student club members to take the lead on furthering conversations about mental health on campus through tabling and planning events such as trivia or movie nights,” said Sosa.

The chapter was founded by Alice Malmon, following the death of her brother while she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. According to the Active Minds’ website, Malmon saw how her brother had suffered silently, and wanted to create the organization to end stigmas surrounding mental health that made people feel alone in their struggles.

Following this, a national office was established in Washington D.C. and in 2003, Active Minds was incorporated as a 501 ©3 organization, making Active Minds an official nonprofit group. Their website states that the program is now a part of more than 1,000 campuses and communities.

The goal of the group is to serve their campus communities, and practice advocacy. Something that the Active Minds chapter at Canisius College hopes to continue. “These powerhouse student groups are working hard to serve the needs of their communities and create cultures that are more supportive of mental health through policy change, promotion of services, awareness and community-building events, social connection events and more," wrote the Active Minds Organization website, something that the Active Minds chapter at Canisius College hopes to continue.

Sosa mentions how the chapter’s attention to student-to-student engagement can be powerful, and may also link to some of Canisius's own core values. Specifically, cura personalis or care for the whole person. While the chapter does focus on mental health, the creation of these conversations leads to the possibility of branching off into a culture of becoming more understanding of others.

“My hope is that this chapter will continue us on the track of being open to talking about mental health on campus while providing students with a safe space to discuss mental health and also de-stress,” said Brian Kottwitz.

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