The University of Michigan’s chapter of Active Minds hosted a “Love Workshop” Thursday night in preparation for Valentine's Day weekend.

The group aimed to discuss the topic of love and its connection to mental health through a presentation, small group discussions and an arts and crafts segment.

LSA junior Anna Smith, who is an Active Minds member, said the meeting’s emphasis on self love was particularly resonant for her.

“It was interesting because, especially this time of year, we think of love as romantic specifically and tonight we heard some great perspectives on self-love, and love of family and country,” she said.

As an organization, Active Minds largely focuses on raising awareness about mental health issues. While the topic of love is not necessarily a mental health issue, board members of Active Minds noted that they believe it can have a weighty impact on it.

Members said they created the workshop to start a dialogue on the misconceptions of love, and to encourage members of the campus community to think about how it impacts their daily lives.

LSA junior Alexandria Kolenda, the active members chair of Active Minds, gave a presentation and led the discussion during the event.

Kolenda said while the University’s chapter of Active Minds has a high overall membership, based on individuals signed up for the e-mail list, the group knows that many people are on the list just for the mental health information and resource e-mails and not active members. Events like these, she said, are for people who want to get more out of the club.

“Mostly it’s an outlet to get different perspectives and to start a conversation, and that is a lot of what Active Minds stand for — raising awareness for mental health,” Kolenda said

The discussion section of the workshop split the room into small groups, in which people talked about their own experiences and brainstormed how to use the presentation’s information to improve their mental health.

“The biggest thing that I took away was to be proud of what you love and work towards feeling confident in that and finding people who, even if they don’t love the same things you love, will appreciate that you love that thing and will share it with you,” Smith said of the segment.

Smith added that she appreciated the presentation on the different kinds of love, specifically the scientific definition of love involving pheromones and dopamine. She noted that Active Minds is a great support network and that helped her gain a lot from tonight’s discussion.

“It’s really nice at events like this to be able to connect with people because we’re all so busy all of the time, and it doesn’t really matter what you talk about as long as you’re talking,” Smith said. “There’s just a lot of like-minded people who are very compassionate and have a lot of empathy for people who are struggling.”

Kolenda said she hopes members will use information from the event to improve the campus climate, even if it is by doing something as small as sharing a smile or opening a door for a fellow student.

“Love is all over this campus and we don’t really take the time to realize the impact that it has,” Kolenda said.

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