How I Help
Alise Sams, 19, Junior at George Mason University, studying psychology
President of campus Active Minds chapter
Q: How did you come to volunteer with Active Minds?
A: When I came to college, it was my first time being away from home. My anxiety was bad and one of my advisors suggested I go to an Active Minds meeting. I’ve seen stigma in my own life, and after seeing how mental illness affects college students, I thought it was really important. I started going to events and volunteering. I started to learn more about specific campaigns Active Minds runs, and it got me more interested.
Q: What sort of work do you do in your capacity as president of the GMU chapter of Active Minds?
A: As the president, I work with the chapter’s executive board. We try to educate the campus and get them to interact with us so we can raise awareness. Our biggest goal is to try to engage the community. We have weekly meetings, and we brought Send Silence Packing to campus. We also work closely with Counseling and Psychological Services, and MasonCares, so we’re kind of student liaisons.
Q: What have you learned, or what has touched you about your experience working with Active Minds?
A: For me, personally, the most moving thing that happens is when a student sees us doing a campaign and they share a personal story that we’ve had an impact on them, or they’ve seen the impact our group has had on campus. Every time we can help someone or make someone feel better about what’s happening in their life it makes me feel really grateful to that person that they felt comfortable sharing that with us. It’s great to see people that are willing to talk, willing to engage with us, because that’s what we want to accomplish by getting rid of stigma. It’s kind of like a little victory.