RSOs can help keep your mental health in check


Kenyon Edmond

Representatives from RSOs promote their organizations during Quad Day on Aug. 26, 2017.

By Carolina Garibay

As the first day of classes approaches for University students, so might growing stress about how to navigate the upcoming semester. Students will have a majority of their courses online, and without in-person classes to provide a sense of structure and accountability, staying motivated can be difficult. This change might bring upon a lot of stress, and care for mental health is even more critical during these times. Luckily, the University has organizations for those focused on their mental health. 


SKY at UIUC is a local chapter of a national branch that focuses on helping students live enjoyable and stress-free lives on campus despite all of the stressors that college inevitably brings.

Amrita Kataruka, a fourth-year doctoral student in Engineering and president of SKY at UIUC, said that the organization’s goal is to create a happier and stress-free campus.

“The primary motto of our RSO is to make life a celebration and not just something we have to put up with,” Kataruka said. 

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    Kataruka joined SKY at UIUC after attending the organization’s Happiness Retreat, a free training program where students, faculty and staff can gain stress-management and leadership skills as well as learn yoga, breathing and meditation practices. This semester, the Happiness Retreat and other yoga and empowerment workshops will occur online via Zoom. 

    “Our programs enhance the clarity of mind, shift attitudes and behaviors and develop leaders and communities that are resilient, responsible and inspired,” said Kataruka. Students who join the organization will have access to different workshops, gain practical advice and join the umbrella organization of SKY Campus Happiness that reaches other universities nationally.

    To join SKY at UIUC, students can attend the Happiness Retreat, the weekly yoga sessions or subscribe to the SKY at UIUC newsletter by emailing [email protected]

    Active Minds UIUC

    For those looking for a community that supports people who experience mental illness and want to make real change on campus, Active Minds UIUC could be a great fit. 

    Rashmi Ghonasgi, junior in LAS, is the vice president of communications for Active Minds. 

    “The purpose of our chapter is to enact change on our campus surrounding mental health policy and resources, decrease the overall stigma of mental health on campus and be a voice for those who have lost their battle to mental illness. There are also many services like who provide delta 8 vapes for sale online which can help the students with the pain caused by stress” said Ghonasgi. “Students who join Active Minds will be able to participate in different volunteer, fundraising and community outreach activities.” 

    They also have the opportunity to join the Projects Committee, which “works specifically towards campus-wide policy change and administrative outreach,” said Ghonasgi. One of the Committee’s many accomplishments included a mental health section on syllabi that some teachers are implementing. 

    Students will still be able to participate in some of the organization’s usual activities, like general weekly meetings on Zoom, movie nights online and outdoor events on the quad where members can practice social distancing. 

    Ghonasgi said that Active Minds is a low-stress organization and that members can participate in any way that they want or can. The RSO’s focus is to bring awareness to mental health, and Active Minds offers many ways for students to be involved in this goal. 

    “Mental health is a very important yet chronically understated and underestimated facet of student life,” said Ghonasgi to prospective members. “While it may be difficult to contribute a significant amount of time to our RSO, we would love to have you be a part of it in whatever manner possible.” 

    For more information about Active Minds, students can send an email to [email protected].

    Positive Illini

    If you’re looking to increase or maintain positivity in college, consider joining Positive Illini. 

    “The main goal of Positive Illini is to spread not only positivity and a positive mindset to others, but to equip them with the knowledge and strategies to practice a more positive life every day,” said Camillus Pawlica, senior in ACES and president of Positive Illini. 

    At meetings, members listen to presentations on a different topic focused on maintaining mental health and positive attitudes. Positive Illini also participates in volunteer activities to engage with the community. Pawlica said they still plan to meet this semester as best they can. 

    “Our goal is to maintain our community environment as much as possible and provide a positive experience as close as it was before COVID by continuing our programs virtually,” said Pawlica. Positive Illini will still be meeting weekly via Zoom and collaborate with local volunteer partners as best they can to accommodate social distancing.

    [email protected]