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April 30, 2017

S.A.’s Lift Your Spirits Day Gathers Cornellians to Raise Awareness for Mental Health

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As students crossed the Arts Quad on their way to class on Friday afternoon, they wove around tables set up by different student organizations to commemorate Lift Your Spirits Day, an event organized by the Student Assembly.

In fact, Friday’s event was the second Lift Your Spirits Day held this year. S.A. members explained that this event began in 2009 to raise awareness for mental health on campus, especially as a result of the circumstances of that year.

“This is an event that is ingrained within Cornell because it’s been happening since 2009 or 2010 when there was a string of suicides on campus. It was put on by the Student Assembly with a bunch of different student organizations on campus to lift spirits in response to that,said Matt Indimine ’18, organizer of the event.

Though this event has traditionally been held during Mental Health Awareness Week in the fall, S.A. members said they decided to host another Lift Your Spirits Day this academic year. They cited both tragedies on campus this year and the political climate as inspiration to hold a second event.

“We’ve seen so many of our peers disgruntled by the campus climate and national climate,” said Varun Devatha ’19, S.A. vice president for outreach. “We thought that Lift Your Spirits day would be a really great way to bring people together and really show them that there is positivity and a place for them on campus.”

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Kyla Chasalow / Sun Contributor

Kyla Chasalow / Sun Contributor

Lift Your Spirits Day serves as an occasion to remind students about the many resources and organizations available at Cornell in the public space of the Arts Quad.

At the event, support groups such as Cornell Minds Matter, EARS and the International Student Union offered free food, activities and updates from each group on their various initiatives and resources to passing students.

As music played, students gathered around the tables, chatting and picking up flyers, stickers and candy. At some tables, they could hang around to do crafts or write notes, while at others, they were encouraged to participate in campus initiatives such as C.U. Reuse’s initiative to bring reusable containers to Cornell dining halls.

At one table, Salma Shitia ’18, founder of Cornell Welcomes Refugees, offered backpack tags that stated #RefugeesWelcome and #SanctuaryCampus on behalf of CWR as well as Cornell DREAM Team. She hoped to spread the message that “there is some sort of movement on this campus to make sure that it’s safe for undocumented persons,” she said.

At the Cornell Democrats table, students were invited to write letters to Joe Biden, who will speak at Senior Convocation this year. Meghana Bharadwaj ’20, said the letter-writing event was met with success and enthusiasm among students.

“We’ve gotten tons of letters. People either write epics or just ‘Joe I love you!’” she said.

Enjoying the warm weather as well as the activities, free food and lively atmosphere, the students shared reactions that mirrored the spirit and mission of Friday’s event.

“It’s a busy time for people, so the timing is good,” said Christina Urban ’17. “Even though people are stressed and have work, it’s a good way to spend some time outside.”

Summarizing this atmosphere, John Navin ’19, tabling for Class Council, said “I’ve seen a lot of really happy faces here, just good vibes and I feel like that’s the goal of it — lift everyone’s spirits, right?”