Lauren Ashley Tipton – Washington and Lee University

Lauren Ashley Tipton is a recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA where she was pre- med and majored in Neuroscience. At W&L, she founded a chapter of Active Minds, a national mental health education and advocacy group, pioneered programs including several student support groups, honored the lives of the 1,100 college students lost each year to suicide via a display of 1,100 pinwheels interspersed with excerpts from anonymously submitted student stories related to suicide, and began a series of mental health student panels that students were willing to sit on the floor or stand for 1.5 hours to listen to. Stressed-OUT tables for midterms and exams were also hosted where students were treated to free snacks and presented with #LoveisLouder materials & a corresponding LOVE stamp across their hand. Weekly meetings were structured to brainstorm approaches to better address the emotional health issues students noticed on campus – excessive loneliness, crippling anxiety, hyper-competitiveness, bullying/hazing, eating disorders, and body image/self-confidence problems. Under her leadership, bold posters plastered campus, an “exam monster” piñata was publicly shredded to pieces during Winter Exams by frustrated fraternity members in front of an enthusiastic audience, and mental health events broke attendance records at the University. In only 2 years, she steered mental health awareness and advocacy from its seemingly quiet beginning to a thriving undergraduate entity.

Learn more about the award and view previous honorees.