Empowerment Week: Raising awareness for mental health on campus

Sarah Haber, Senior Writer

The inaugural Empowerment Week was held on campus from Dec. 2-5 to raise awareness for mental health. Several events, including a concert at Bull Run Tap House, rock climbing at the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics & Recreation Center, as well as a kickboxing class, were focused on introducing different healing paths to students as well to de-stigmatize the idea of mental health on campus. All proceeds made during Empowerment Week will go to Active Minds. 

“The purpose of Empowerment Week is to provide social spheres that are not affiliated with any exclusive organization to provide activities, like climbing and kickboxing that serve to make people feel stronger than they think they are, to provide a community to people who may otherwise feel isolated, and to raise money for Active Minds, an organization devoted to improving mental health on college campuses,” Layla Gordon ’20, the student organizer of Empowerment Week, said.

All of the events during Empowerment Week focused on creating an open dialogue between students about mental health on campus. Empowerment Week gave students and community members a casual setting to mingle with others and listen to each others struggles with mental health. “People often feel like they’re the only one struggling, and if they open up, they’re weird. They feel like they will not be accepted, and like their social status is more important than their self esteem,” Gordon said.

One of the events available this week for students was a kickboxing class where students were able to learn a new skill. Kickboxing is one of the many outlets that students on campus can use to release negative energy and engage with other students. 

“I am so excited to see everyone come together for something that I believe is relevant to many students on this campus. I think something that makes the Empowerment campaign different than other events done regarding awareness and support is that it is not about ‘prevention’ of inevitable situations but instead is about proactiveness and control,” Sky Martinez ’22, who helped host the kickboxing class for Empowerment Week, said.

Empowerment Week ultimately aims to get rid of the stigma associated with mental illness. “Empowerment week is about bringing these people together. It is allowing them to choose from an array of healing paths, and we are just trying to provide that first step,” Gordon said.

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