Cabrini College Active Minds recently won the Active Minds National Chapter of the Year Award at the Active Minds 10th National Mental Health on Campus Conference for the 2012-2013 academic year. Three members of Active Minds, Robyn Suchy, Sara Allaire and Madeline Coutu attended the 10th national conference at Georgetown University in November.
In order to win this award, Active Minds needs to be considered a five-star chapter. “In order to win the award we had to be considered a 5-star chapter,” president Coutu said via email. “In order to be a 5-star chapter we are in good standing with the college, continue communication with National, we partner with other on-campus clubs, we have a strong executive board and hold 3 meetings per semester and one event per semester.”
“Five Star chapters can be nominated for the award and from there there’s an evaluation process in the national office,” former president Suchy said.
There are current 438 other Active Minds chapters across the country and 104 colleges and universities were represented at the conference. “To me, winning this award means that we keep doing what we’re doing but make everything bigger and better,” Suchy said via email. “Now that we have this national recognition, our chapter is even more motivated to do more programming for our peers, reach out to more staff and faculty members, and truly eliminate the stigma around mental health in large scale ways.”
According to Suchy, the conference had multiple educational sessions to attend about multiple topics. This included fundraising, events and creating institutional change around mental health. There were also sessions hosted by The Trevor Project, a national organization dedicated to suicide prevention services for the LGBTQ youth, and the American foundation for suicide prevention. Suchy also said there was a fundraising stomp out stigma walk, and a keynote address from Pam Hyde, an administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Active Minds works year round to hold events for students to attend and to educate the campus about the importance of mental health. Events of theirs include activities around eating disorder awareness week, stomp out stigma and the wildly popular destress with dogs. In addition, Active Minds partners with other clubs on campus to more effectively get their message across. “This award is good reassurance of what we have been doing as a chapter, it shows us that others see the change we are making on our campus,” Coutu said. “More than just reassurance, though, this is motivation to keep doing what we are doing, to keep expanding and growing, knowing that we are making a difference.”
“This is a real honor for me,” Suchy said. “When I took over Active Minds at the end of my freshman year I never could have imagined us achieving such an honor. All of the executive board and membership have worked so hard to set us apart from all the other chapters around the county and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve been able to do together.”
While at the conference, Coutu presented a session on the Stress Less week Cabrini does, Allaire presented on her mental health bracelet fundraiser and Suchy presented on chapter fundraising and membership recruitment.
“Robyn Suchy has been dedicated to Active Minds as a national organization, but especially at Cabrini College,” Coutu said. “Because of her dedication, her passion, her work ethic we, at Cabrini College, have the Active Minds Chapter of the Year. She has left us with big shoes to fill and I know that whatever she chooses to do after graduation, she will do amazing things and continue to change the world.”
“Active Minds is a club about mental health, a stigmatized topic that people usually don’t want to talk about,” Suchy said. “But the people on this campus were willing to have a conversation with us and we’ve changed lives because of it.”