We need other people.
TWLOHA says it a lot, but it’s true. We aren’t meant to live life alone. We’re meant to share life and be with each other.
Through working with the University Chapters Program, I see this idea being actualized every day. It has given me the opportunity to work with passionate students all over the country and around the world. These students have created communities on their own college campuses that bring peace and solace to those looking for a place to fit in. We are so proud of the work and time they put into building their chapters, learning from one another, and sharing life.
TWLOHA is excited to recognize the work UChapters have been doing over the last school year and the dedication they put forth every day. There are eight major awards presented below, but be sure to check our recognition page next week to see how much all of our chapters do.
Programming Chapter of the Year
This award honors the chapter that went above and beyond in their programs and events. The chapter that demonstrated this most, Canisius College, held 24 events over the last year including fundraisers, movie screenings, QPR training, and awareness events. They have built a solid relationship with their campus counseling services, as well as established a visible presence on their campus.
Program of the Year
This award is designed to recognize creativity and innovation in chapter’ programs and events. The event that stood out the most to us this year was a remembrance walk called “The Walk of Life” held at Western Washington University. The event started in a lecture hall where videos about the importance of suicide education and prevention were shown. Faculty and students who were personally affected by suicide shared their testimonies, and both the Counseling Center and Prevention and Wellness Center presented resources. Following this presentation, participants walked the campus together, stopping at reflection points along the way. Finally, the Dean of Students and the University President shared their stories and spoke about more resources available.
Fundraising Chapter of the Year
This award is given to the chapter that exceeded expectations in their fundraising efforts. Almost immediately after joining the UChapters community last fall, the Virginia Tech chapter was presented with the challenge to join their women’s basketball team in a benefit for TWLOHA. They began fundraising to present TWLOHA with a check during a live airing of a basketball game. Their efforts raised $1,600, and we are so grateful for their commitment to the cause.
Fundraiser of the Year
This award recognizes the chapter whose single fundraiser raised the most funds. “Retake the Night” at the University of Florida was an official TWLOHA Benefit to raise awareness about TWLOHA, the UChapter on campus, and the issues. Through their endeavors, TWLOHA-UF was able to raise $302, and we want to thank them for their hard work.
Advisor of the Year
In the short time since Loyola Marymount University joined our UChapters Community, we’ve seen them accomplish big things. And with an advisor like Judy Battaglia, it’s easy to see why. As President Joe Ward says, “Judy has played a pivotal role as our faculty advisor in providing a comfortable space for students to really connect to the deep issues rooted in TWLOHA’s mission statement. She has had a solid presence at every chapter meeting and has even cleverly facilitated small group discussion around the sensitive issues—which most professors steer away from—all while maintaining the position of a staff mentor and bridge to professional help on campus.” Judy is in the approval process to teach a Communication Studies course at LMU focusing on mental health’s relationship to stigma, stereotypes, communication, and miscommunication.
Chapter Member of the Year
Whether staying late to help after meetings or baking dozens of blondies for fundraising bake sales, Danielle Amin, UChapter Historian for Virginia Tech, played an important role in helping the new chapter grow this year. President Shannon Passaro says, “Danielle exemplifies everything I had hoped our members would be. Not only did she fulfill her duties as Historian, she made attendance and participation a priority and was always willing to do everything she could to make the chapter the best it could be. She dedicated herself to everything we did and really tried to spread the message of hope and community that TWLOHA represents.”
Chapter Leader of the Year
As Treasurer of TWLOHA-Ursinus College, Caitlin Gallagher approved the chapter’s budget and spending. But she also excelled beyond her duties as treasurer by managing the chapter’s Twitter, coordinating volunteers, and participating as a mentor and trainer in the local school district’s suicide prevention program. Chapter member Amanda Fulton says, “I believe she is the only person that has attended every single meeting, executive and general. Caitlin has been a great role model for everyone on campus and is a great role model for the entire community.”
Chapter of the Year
We have so many amazing chapters, leaders, and members who dedicate themselves to raising awareness, spreading hope, inspiring others, and supporting the cause. Believe me when I say that determining the Chapter of the Year was not an easy process.
TWLOHA-East Tennessee State University has established a strong presence on their campus in Johnson City, TN, and for that reason they are our Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row. They have created a community that incorporates each of its members strengths and talents into their events, meetings, and tabling events. TWLOHA-ETSU held a staggering 17 programs (two of which were held on a weekly basis), coordinated multiple fundraisers, and were present on campus tabling many times. Their yearly fundraiser, “TWLOHApalooza”, raised over $1,800 over a three-night concert event. The chapter was also able to host Jamie Tworkowski this year for a speaking event. Their dedication and passion is undeniable, and we are very proud to call them Chapter of the Year.
As the UChapters Director, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each of our 76 active UChapters. You have shown us what it really means to love others and inspire your peers. We are so thankful for your giving natures, and I look forward to working with you again this upcoming school year.