Middlebury

Middlebury College "Active Minds" symposium to stimulate dialogue on mental health issues April 17-20

April 3, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- Monday through Thursday, April 17-20, a Middlebury College student-run organization, Active Minds, will host a symposium of the same name. The four-day "Active Minds" symposium is designed to stimulate dialogue on mental health issues and will include lectures, film screenings and a panel discussion - all free and open to the public.

The symposium begins at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, April 17, with a lecture by Jim Hudziak, associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Vermont. Hudziak's talk, titled "Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Wellness and Psychiatric Illness," will take place in Room 438 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). Hudziak will discuss how genetic and environmental influences combine to put college-age students at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.

At 4:30 p.m. that afternoon, in Room 220 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury College's program in neuroscience will host a talk by Scott Swartzwelder, titled "Alcohol and the Hippocampus: Stumbling Down Memory Lane." Swartzwelder, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, asserts that two of the most powerful side effects of alcohol are the impairment of learning and memory and the promotion of sedation. During the past 15 years, researchers have come to understand some of the neural mechanisms that underlie these effects. Swartzwelder's talk will review neurophysiological and behavioral studies from his research.

Later that evening, at 7:30 p.m., the documentary film "Keeper of the Kohn" will be screened in Warner Hemicycle, located on College Street (Route 125). The film concerns retired Middlebury men's lacrosse field manager Peter Kohn, believed to have undiagnosed autism. When he joined in 1981, 74-year-old Kohn quickly became a venerated member of the team, and  "Keeper of the Kohn" captures his triumphs and the unique challenges he faces. The film won the Jury Award at the Vail International film festival, the Audience Award at the International Palm Beach film festival, and was an official selection at the Trenton and River Run Festivals.

On Tuesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., Alison Malmon will deliver a lecture titled "Suffering = Silence: Advocating for College Mental Health" in Room 220 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall. Malmon is the executive director and founder of Active Minds, Inc., the national headquarters for Active Minds on Campus, a student-run organization with more than 25 chapters working to raise awareness of mental health issues on college campuses.

A panel discussion including both professionals and students will take place in Dana Auditorium, located in Sunderland Language Center, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19. The panel focus will be "The Many Faces of Mental Illness: Political and Personal Perspectives" and includes Vermont State Senator James Leddy; Katherine Connolly, president of the Burlington-based Howard Center for Human Services; Todd Centybear, executive director of the Howard Center for Human Services; Gary Margolis, director of counseling services at Middlebury College; and Diane Rule, manager of the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes. Student panelists include Middlebury College seniors Chris Lizotte and Mike Emery.

On Thursday, April 20, Larry Bissonette will present his documentary about his experiences with autism, titled "My Classic Life as an Artist: A Portrait of Larry Bissonette." The presentation will take place at 12:30 p.m. in Room 220 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall and Bissonette's friend, Pascal Cravedi Cheng, will help facilitate a discussion.

Later that evening, Dr. Richard D. Kadison, mental health director at Harvard University Health Services and author of "College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It" will deliver the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. His lecture, titled "Staying Well in College: College Mental Health 2006," will take place in Dana Auditorium. Kadison, whose background is in child and youth psychiatry, will discuss issues facing college students, such as relationships, eating disorders and stress.

Throughout the symposium, from Sunday, April 16 to Saturday, April 22, visitors can enjoy an exhibit of 20 pieces of art by adults recovering from mental illness who are members of Westview House, a program of the Howard Center for Human Services. The ongoing exhibit will be located between Rooms 216 and 220 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall.

The symposium is sponsored by Middlebury College's Cook Commons, Wonnacott Commons and the neuroscience department. For more information contact "Active Minds" student organizers Caitlin Connolly at cconnoll@middlebury.edu or 802-443-6219, or Chris Lizotte at clizotte@middlebury.edu or 802-443-4066.

To follow is a schedule of events:

Middlebury College Mental Health Symposium: "Active Minds"
April 17-20

Monday, April 17
12:15 p.m.
Lecture: Jim Hudziak, University of Vermont associate professor of psychiatry and medicine

Hudziak will deliver a lecture, titled "Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Wellness and Psychiatric Illness," and discuss how genetic and environmental influences combine to put college-age students at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.
Room 438, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

4:30 p.m.
Lecture: Scott Swartzwelder, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center
Swartzwelder, who will deliver a lecture titled "Alcohol and the Hippocampus: Stumbling Down Memory Lane," will discuss the two most powerful side effects of alcohol: impairment of learning and memory, and the promotion of sedation.
Room 220, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

7:30 p.m.
Screening: "Keeper of the Kohn"

The documentary film is about beloved retired Middlebury men's lacrosse field manager Peter Kohn, believed to have undiagnosed autism, and discusses Kohn's life journey and the challenges he faces.
Warner Hemicycle, College Street (Route 125)

Tuesday, April 18
7:30 p.m.
Lecture: Alison Malmon, executive director and founder of Active Minds, Inc.

Malmon will deliver a lecture titled "Suffering = Silence: Advocating for College Mental Health." Active Minds, Inc., is the national headquarters for Active Minds on Campus, a student-run organization with more than 25 chapters working to raise awareness of mental health issues on college campuses.
Room 220, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

Wednesday, April 19
7 p.m.
Panel Discussion: "The Many Faces of Mental Illness: Political and Personal Perspectives"

Professional panelists includes Vermont Senator James Leddy; Katherine Connolly, president of the Burlington-based Howard Center for Human Services; Todd Centybear, executive director of the Howard Center for Human Services; Gary Margolis, director of counseling services at Middlebury College; and Diane Rule, manager of the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes. Student panelists include Middlebury College seniors Chris Lizotte and Mike Emery.
Dana Auditorium, Sunderland Language Center, College Street (Route 125)

Thursday, April 20
12:30 p.m.
Screening and Discussion: Larry Bissonette

Bissonette will present his documentary about his experiences with autism, titled "My Classic Life as an Artist: A Portrait of Larry Bissonette." His friend, Pascal Cravedi Cheng, will help facilitate a discussion.
Room 220, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125)

7:30 p.m.
Keynote Address: Dr. Richard D. Kadison, mental health director at Harvard University Health Services
Kadison, author of "College of the Overwhelmed:  The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It," will deliver a lecture titled "Staying Well in College: College Mental Health 2006." Kadison, whose background is in child and youth psychiatry, will discuss issues facing college students, such as relationships, eating disorders and stress.
Dana Auditorium, Sunderland Language Center, College Street (Route 125)

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact "Active Minds" student organizers Caitlin Connolly at cconnoll@middlebury.edu or 802-443-6219, or Chris Lizotte at clizotte@middlebury.edu or 802-443-4066.