Next Gen is a student organization on UofM’s campus. Our mission statement is through campus involvement, Next Gen will work to raise awareness and educate people on the University of Michigan’s campus about ovarian cancer. This year we hosted our second annual Ovary Fun Night. This is an awareness gala we host each year. During the event, we teach people about ovarian cancer, have ovarian cancer survivors tell their stories, we have the GMen perform, and we have auction off items. This is a time for people to come together and learn about such an important cause. This year we were able to earn more money as well as reach more people than last year, which is our number one goal.
This year we faced less challenges than last year. It was nice to have to a foundation from last year to grow and improve from. The only challenge I can think of that we faced is before the event we did not have as many people signed up as we had hoped. However, we reached out the day of the event and told them it was not too late to register. This doubled our attendance. It taught us never to give up on recruiting people. It also showed us that our crowd might be more last minute people so we should continue to remind them of the event and tell them to come in the future.
We are very grateful to the Barger Leadership Institute and for the help they gave us. We plan to continue working hard to spread awareness about ovarian cancer throughout our time at the University and will pass the organization on to others when we leave. This event allowed us to spread awareness, which is a critical part of our mission. We are excited to see what the future holds and are hoping to partner with the BLI again.
By: Barbara Dahlmann
On a cold, cloudy day the week before finals, we stood in the middle of the Diag handing bags out to the hundreds of student bustling back and forth to their last couple classes of the semester.
It probably didn’t appear so at first, but the bags were the product of a project on mental health awareness on campus. Dubbed by our group as ‘mental health baggies’, they contained not only a generous amount of free candy and chocolate, but also a pamphlet that contained mental health resources, self-care tips, phone numbers for various hotlines, and tips for talking to a friend who might be going through a rough period.
In essence, the bags were meant to be a small way to raise awareness and provide resources to students who might be experiencing issues with their mental health. The bags not only provided resources for individuals to utilize during the stress and strain that is finals week, but also provided a small treat to hopefully brighten the day of students whose minds were filled with concerns about finals, papers, and summer plans.
When our group began working on the project for our work in the BLI Leadership Lab, we set out with a desire to address some of the mental health issues that exist on campus. After spending time talking with various university and student organizations on campus, we realized that often students are not of some of the free services that exist for them on campus, so we decided to create a resource that would list many of these services. Additionally, by handing out the bags during the week before finals, we felt that our small project would have the most amount of impact and potentially reach someone who was deeply in need.
Our experiences researching mental health resources and awareness on campus really opened our eyes to the deficits and stigma that still surrounds the issue on campus. In the future, we all hope to continue our work in raising awareness for mental wellness and psychological well-being on campus. We would like to thank BLI for their generosity and support of our project, and we look forward to continuing our work with BLI in the upcoming semesters.
By: Emily Currier
Next Gen is a student organization on campus. Through campus involvement, Next Gen will work to raise awareness and educate people on the University of Michigan’s campus about ovarian cancer. This is exactly what we did during our event, Ovary Fun Night. Going into the night, we were not sure what exactly to expect. We were hoping for an enthusiastic crowd to listen and share each others’ stories and relations to ovarian cancer. Reflecting on the night, we got much more than that. People came to support others, people came to enjoy the humor, and people came to learn about ovarian cancer. More people attended the event than we were expecting and more money was raised than we were aiming for. Guests walked away with full stomachs, arms full of raffle prizes, and minds set on helping find a diagnostic test for ovarian cancer.
We did not encounter a challenge, more of a few obstacles. One example being, we did not coordinate someone to create our centerpieces until the week of. Luckily, we were able to find someone to do that last minute. This was the first big event my board and I had ever put on. With this fact in mind our event went amazingly well. We were very happy and proud of all the outcomes. We hope to continue to have this event every year. We believe we can continue to improve and grow the event each year. We are already thinking of ways to improve the event in the future.
We are very grateful for the help that the Barger Leadership Institute provided in putting on a successful event for an organization that we began only a couple of years ago. We plan to continue working hard to spread awareness of ovarian cancer throughout our time at the University and will pass the organization on to others when we leave. This was our first big event and still preliminary steps to advocating for ovarian cancer awareness. But just like many other issues in life, each small step gets you closer to the end goal.
By: Aly Dahlmann