Month: April 2018


Passive Program of the Month
In My Shoes

School: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Region: GLACURH
Person in charge: Danesha Bonds Nominator: Alyssa Niebuhr

Target Population: 500 Time Needed to Organize: 30 days
Number of People in Attendance: 500 Date(s) of Program: April 11, 2018
Number of People Needed to Organize: 1 Cost of Program: $0
On-Campus Population: 4200 Chapter Size: 42

Origin of Program:

The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Student Housing Administrative Council, known by other schools as Residence Hall Association, hosts Mental Health Week one time a year.

This week is one that University Housing holds near and dear to our hearts. After several studies and surveys, we have found here in University Housing that 38% of our students have felt so depressed that it was difficult to function, 58% of students experienced overwhelming anxiety, and 8% have had thoughts of suicide.

Because mental health impacts so many of our students on campus, National Residence Hall Honorary Associate Director of Philanthropy Danesha Bonds began planning a mental health week event that would not only showcase the importance of mental health, but also work to break the stigmas that surround the topic.

Because service work and volunteering is something that National Residence Hall Honorary focuses so greatly on, Danesha wanted this event to be something even more than your ordinary mental health event. Ultimately, she successfully hosted an event that worked to normalize mental health within college age students while performing a large-scale good deed for those in need.

Word Count: 186

Please give a short description of the program:

The passive program that Danesha planned for NRHH to put on began at the beginning of March with an NRHH sponsored Shoe Drive. In each of our residence hall buildings, there was a shoe donation box placed to collect salvageable used shoes from students that no longer wore them.

The shoe drive ran from the first week of March to the first week of April. At the end of the shoe drive, on April 10th, Danesha and the other members of the National Residence Hall Honorary Executive Board gathered all of the shoes to be sanitized and deodorized to prepare for the grand event. During this process, the Executive Board Members counted out nearly 100 pairs of shoes that had been donated during the shoe drive!

During the time of the shoe drive, NRHH opened an online form for residents, asking willing participants to submit their mental health stories anonymously to be used for a Mental Health Week event.

Danesha then took the mental health stories and had them placed onto posters - one story per poster. She also printed off large posters the explained what the In My Shoes event was all about and asked that residents respectfully experience the event without judgement.

The day of the event, April 11th, came around and the NRHH Executive Board gathered to set up the In My Shoes event. They took every pair of shoes donated during the shoe drive and arranged them in such a way that lined the lobby halls of Sandburg Residence Hall and Cambridge Commons - the residence halls on our campus with the largest student populations, housing approximately 4,000 residents between the two buildings.

Placed above each pair of shoes was a poster displaying an anonymously submitted mental health story. These stories contained experiences from different people ranging from their struggles with depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and even suicidal ideation. Students bypassing the event were to read the stories associated with each pair of shoes recognizing that every person has a different story, mental health can affect anyone and the prevalence within our community needs to be recognized so that we can crack the stigmas surrounding mental health and being outlining the resources that we have for individuals who may be struggling with these problems.

Following this event, every pair of shoes was donated to a local shelter for those in need.

Word Count: 397

Goals of the program:

There were several outstanding goals set by Danesha and the rest of the NRHH Executive Board surrounding this event. They included:

- Receiving enough shoes during the shoe drive to create a lasting impact on the individuals experiencing the event. One or two pairs was not going to be significant enough.

- Getting the word out to students about how prevalent these mental health problems are on our campus. If students are educated, they are more likely to speak up and do something about this problem.

- Cracking the stigma and normalizing mental health within our communities.By normalizing these problems, people are less likely to hold in their dark thoughts.

- Provide the necessary resources to our students here on campus. By giving them the tools, they are already one step closer to utilizing them. There are so many great resources on our campus that students simply are not educated on, therefore they are not being properly utilized.

- Make a difference in the lives of those in need through charitable donation. In this case, gather enough shoes to provide for those who are in need at our local Milwaukee based charities.

Word Count: 193

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

Each of the goals that I described previously that were set in place for this event were successfully achieved. The impact made by each of them is as follows:

- Approximately 100 shoes total were donated for the use of this event. Each and every one of those were then given to those in need within the Greater Milwaukee Area. The donation center was overwhelmed with how large of a donation NRHH was providing them with - as they have been in dire need of shoe donations.

- Students bypassing the event were stopping. They were reading the stories posted in all of their detail. Students coped with this experience in different ways. Some smiled knowing that something was being said about the grand mental health epidemic. Others shed tears as they felt the pain that some of the anonymous readings described. The event was WORKING.

- The large number of shoes created a great visual representation of how many people are impacted by mental health concerns. The shoes lined the halls toe to toe and this made such a lasting impact on each and every individual walking past that noticed the shoes or posted stories on the walls.

Word Count: 200

Short evaluation of the program:

As a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary Panther Chapter Executive Board, I am blown away with the breathtaking impact that my colleague Danesha has made within our residence hall communities. Through doing this event, the students that live on campus established a greater understanding of the signs and symptoms associated with mental health, how prevalent these problems are at a campus as large as ours, and they also left with the knowledge necessary to crack the stigmas surrounding mental health.

Seeing the mind blowing numbers of shoes that Danesha was capable of collecting in the short amount of time provided was something that deserves recognition in itself. Within one month, Danesha created an event that is likely to become a Mental Health Week tradition. Students were participating, faculty members stopped in awe with the impact that this event could potentially make on so many people. In conclusion, this event is one that can not go without recognition. Too many lives were changed for it to go unnoticed.

Word Count: 170

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

All that you would need to do on another campus to put this event on in a successful manner is one's desire to change perspectives and make a difference in the lives of others.

It is likely that college students within your communities have an abundance of old shoes that are no longer being worn. By hosting a shoe drive, you are capable of collecting all of the shoes necessary to put on a successful event. The next steps would be to collect anonymous mental health stories and finally setting up the event in a heavily populated area will make the lasting impact that you desire when hosting such a large scale event.

Word Count: 114

Date of entry into database: 2018-04-16 12:00:55

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