UW-W Active Minds chapter wins national award

Miranda Ward, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

This year UW-Whitewater’s Active Mind’s Chapter received the honor of being selected for the Active Minds Chapter of the Year Award. It is a nationally recognized award given to one out of over 600 university chapters. This award goes to a chapter that goes above and beyond, using Active Minds to create a campus wide impact. 

UW-W’s Active Minds chapter has been working hard to end the stigma around mental health by educating others about the realities of trauma, disorders, and everything mental health related. They have used their voice to advocate for others through events such as their Send Silence Packing event that was held at the beginning of the school year.

“Active minds is a mental health education group,” said Chapter President Kelsey Pacetti.  “We are not technically a support group, but we have a very supportive culture though.” 

Pacetti has been a part of active minds since her freshman year. Now a senior, she spoke about what she felt made her chapter stick out this year.

“I would say what really showed off what we do as an organization was our Active Minds Spirit Week. Every single day there was a mental health type theme, including: awareness, advocacy, community connection and education. We also raised money for active minds nationally and were one of the top teams for that,” said Pacetti.

Chapter secretary Malayna Oswald was also excited about winning such a prestigious award. Oswald, who has been working with Active Minds for multiple years now, opened up what made her join Active Minds.

“It feels so great to be recognized nationally, I ended up nominating us. I just mentioned all the events, fundraises, and what we have brought to this campus. It was such an honor, there were 600 other chapters, it’s just incredible,” said Oswald. “I joined because I had a friend who was experiencing a mental health condition and I wasn’t really sure how to help and I wanted to support my friend through what she was going through.” 

She has since fallen in love with this organization, and has discovered her passion for helping others through Active Minds, leading to her presently pursuing a masters of social work through UW-Whitewater. Oswald reflected on her time with Active Minds this far and opened up about her favorite memory.

“We have this presentation we put on called the mental health monolog, and I got to sing a song with Kelsey, and we raised money for active minds. That was my favorite memory, the sense of family was amazing,” said Oswald.

New members often join this organization seeking support. That was the case for both chapter members Kaylie Hawn and Maddie Ruege, who echo the idea that Active Minds is like a family. 

“I joined Active Minds because I was struggling with my own mental health and wanted a community I could talk to,” said Hawn. 

“I lost someone to suicide and I also struggled with my own mental health issues and wanted a place to go and people to be around,” said Ruege. 

It is evident that UW-Whitewater’s chapter of Active Minds has positively influenced the Whitewater community by creating a safe space for students to come together and share their experiences. Active Minds is empowering students with a voice to advocate for themselves and others through this organization. 

Pacetti, remains optimistic that through her group’s advocacy mental health resources will be more readily available for students on campus. As she finishes her last semester at UW-Whitewater, she continues to advocate for mental health and is confident in her team’s ability to carry on her mission.

“Our main goals are to spread awareness and decrease the stigma through education, practicing self-care and hosting events.”

To learn more about Active Minds as an organization visit https://www.activeminds.org/programs/chapter-network/.