By Morgan Murphy ‘22
On Saturday, April 9, the Beautiful Minds club hosted a successful event. The Out of the Darkness Fundraiser engaged students, faculty, and members of the community to raise awareness of mental health resources in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Club presidents Angelica Knudson ’22 and Shea McIntyre ’22 told the Herald they were extremely pleased with the turnout.
“Setting up the event, seeing how people respond to it, and seeing how the community actively engages with us is such a great payoff to the time and effort put into it,” said McIntyre. “It was such a great feeling to see community members there. Moving beyond the student focus to a broader community reach was great to see in action.”
Representatives from Finger Lakes organizations included the Western NY chapter of AFSP, Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, and Seneca County Substance Abuse Coalition, who handed out resources and contributed to the conversations. Laura Black and other members of Darwin the band played live original music and spoke about mental health as well.
Knudson said, “seeing community members involved and outside organizations supporting us was really cool. There were people from downtown Geneva coming in and out, asking us ‘why don’t they do stuff like this more often?’ The community building was really encouraging.”
Beautiful Minds has been on campus since 2014 with the goal of raising mental health awareness and providing support and crisis resources. Knudson joined as a first-year in 2018 and joined club leadership as a sophomore in 2019, and McIntyre became co-president in the Fall of 2021. Despite COVID-19 setbacks, the co-presidents are optimistic for the future of the club following their graduation.
“COVID made recruitment really challenging for all clubs on campus. Now that we have more freedom to hold events and meetings in person, we are more hopeful that club membership will stay active,” McIntyre explained. After holding the Out of the Darkness Fundraiser, the club is excited to continue its momentum and get more students involved.
“The club has led to an amazing opportunity to build a unique community and meet people I would not have otherwise met,” Knudson said, reflecting on three years of leading Beautiful Minds. “Meeting other students from different majors, class years, and social groups who care about mental health and suicide prevention has been really meaningful. For all of us during COVID, our club meetings turned into support groups, but that was what we all needed.”
Finding connections and opening up the dialogue surrounding mental health has been profoundly impactful to Knudson and McIntyre and students and faculty. Both co-presidents want to encourage all members of the HWS community to take mental health seriously.
“Continuing conversations on mental health should be something found in all areas of campus life whether it be in the classroom, sports, or with friends,” McIntyre said. “Having the space to be vulnerable and talk about your emotions and making sure there is time and a place to keep those conversations going in all spheres of campus life is so important.”
Knudson added, “I want to emphasize the importance of self-care. Make sure you are making time to take care of yourself despite the high pressures of college life. We might feel like if we’re not sleeping or we’re not eating full meals, or we’re staying up late to do work that we are doing what we are supposed to do as college students. But we need to make sure to take steps to take care of ourselves.”
Knudson also expressed, “It is so important to take care of each other. We would be nowhere without the people around us and community care. Supporting one another and bringing awareness along with action to mental health related issues is important to produce change for everyone.”
Angelica Knudson and Shea McIntyre have cultivated a community within the Beautiful Minds club that is inviting to all. Whether in a club meeting, assisting with tabling or an event, or just walking around campus, any chance to speak to either individual is a conversation that will leave everyone smiling and feeling reassured. Their impact on the Colleges is one that will be remembered, and hopefully a legacy that will continue through future leaders of the club.