By: Riki Greenberg  | 

YU Counseling Center & Active Minds Team Up to Encourage Students to Express Gratitude

The YU Counseling Center partnered with Active Minds, an undergraduate club devoted to mental health awareness, and the Undergraduate Torah Studies Program (UTS) to run a gratitude initiative on Dec. 21, during Chanukah, to encourage students to write about things they are grateful for.

Students were prompted to write one thing they were grateful for on a post-it note on both the Wilf and Beren campuses, to be hung on boards along with other student responses. On Wilf campus, the initiative took place outside the Heights Lounge, and on Beren campus, in the lobby of 245 Lexington Ave. 

On Wilf campus, Rabbi Avraham Kenner, a therapist at the Wilf Campus counseling center, and Matthew Silver (YC ‘24), a co-president of Active Minds, encouraged students to post gratitude notes during the early afternoon of Dec. 21, offering students treats such as chocolate coins. On Beren Campus, Yael Berger (SCW ‘23), president of Active Minds, and Shira Silton of the Beren Counseling Center did the same, distributing donuts as well.

The boards remained up during the rest of Chanukah and students added further notes.

Silton, a senior therapist at the Beren Counseling Center, told the Commentator that the initiative was purposefully scheduled to take place on Chanukkah.

“We thought it would be special,” said Silton, “to impart this gratitude concept to the student body while also celebrating the lights, miracles and the celebration of human triumph associated with Chanukah.” 

The Counseling Center felt that the event was a success.

“The Counseling Center was delighted by the overwhelming response of the student body,” Kener told The Commentator. “Within hours, the canvases on both Wilf and Beren campuses were almost completely filled with gratitude statements, and the positive atmosphere around them was palpable.”

After the event, Berger told The Commentator that she felt the event was important, as gratitude is often overlooked.

“Gratitude is something that is so important yet can go so easily unrecognized,” said Berger. “Having students deliberately express gratitude increases mindfulness, reduces stress and improves overall mental well-being.” 

The YU Counseling Center is a resource free of charge for students to take advantage of and meet with professional clinicians when they are experiencing stress of any kind. In the upcoming months, Active Minds will be running its annual event called Stomp out the Stigma, which promotes mental health and aims to eliminate the stigma around it on both campuses.

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Photo Caption: The gratitude board in the lobby of 245 Lexington Ave.

Photo Credit: Riki Greenberg