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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

New club promotes mental health amidst pandemic

Noah+Trofimow+with+club+donations
Courtesy of Paper Bag Mask Club
Noah Trofimow with club donations

This fall, Suffolk University junior marketing major Noah Trofimow started a chapter of The Paper Bag Mask Foundation at Suffolk. His hopes; to offer students coping mechanisms for the stress and anxiety they face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The E-Board consists of Trofimow as president, along with Suffolk students Ellie Walach as vice president, Riya Kamani as secretary and Eric (Weijun) Chen as treasurer.

These leaders plan to host classes and workshops based around movement, creativity and meditation through exercise, writing, arts and breathwork. Additionally, fundraisers will be held for non-profits in the Greater Boston area.

The Suffolk Paper Bag Mask Club is an extension of The Paper Bag Mask Foundation, which was founded in Massachusetts in March by Trofimow and Fran Kilinski in light of the pandemic.

The non-profit aims to gather students virtually to help them combat poor mental health and collect donations for organizations such as Anna Jaques Hospital and Bridge Over Troubled Waters. This semester, Trofimow decided to bring the purpose to Suffolk and start a chapter for the community.

The term “Paper Bag Mask” was created by Trofimow as a previous clothing brand logo in April 2019. The purpose of the brand was to “spread awareness for mental illness while raising money for suicide prevention organizations,” said Trofimow. He worked with Kilinski to turn the message of the clothing brand over to the foundation.

Courtesy of Paper Bag Mask Club

“We all know someone who wears a mask, whether we realize this or not. Often, when people are struggling on the inside, they hide their emotions behind a fake-smile,” said Trofimow. “This is their alter-ego– their mask. Sometimes, this mask is worn to hide internal pain from loved ones or to avoid being labeled and criticized by peers.”

Meetings are held according to the members’ schedules and host a brief discussion about current events and their impact on each individual’s mental health. The members are also planning potential upcoming club activities.

This semester, the club will continue to host two virtual classes every week that all students are welcome to attend.  Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., a circuit-training workout is run to focus on the club’s primary pillar of movement. A guided meditation for beginners is held every Friday at 1:30 p.m.

The club has also been planning to coordinate fundraisers that will donate supplies to Boston-based non-profits.

Wallach, senior business management major at Suffolk and the vice president of the chapter, has been positively impacted by the club.

“The community I have met through [Paper Bag Mask Club] and topics we discuss have encouraged me to be more involved in community outreach and be more open on why mental health matters,” said Wallach. “I hope more students will join us in making a difference in the Boston community and help us foster a safe space to discuss mental health.”

The Suffolk Paper Bag Mask Club has been actively looking for new members within the Suffolk community to join. Membership is open to all majors and all classes.

Follow the Suffolk Paper Bag Mask Club on Instagram @paperbagmask.co.

Follow Julia on Twitter @juliaahaesy.

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About the Contributor
Julia Ahaesy, Opinion Editor, Social Media Manager | she/her
Julia is a senior studying public relations at Suffolk University. Along with her roles of co-opinion editor and co-social media editor at The Suffolk Journal, she writes weekly for her column, Student and the City. On the few occasions she is not writing, you can find her buried in the latest issue of Vogue, wandering the city, or drinking too much coffee. Native to Massachusetts, she will be joining the Massachusetts Air National Guard after graduation. She is currently studying abroad in London, England. Julia hopes to continue traveling as she explores the arts and culture industries in her future. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliaahaesy Email her at [email protected]

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    Sharone HardestyNov 25, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you, Noah, and your associates for seeing the need and addressing the issue. Prior to becoming an educator, I enjoyed my first career as a clinical psychologist. A wonderful field that is sorely lacking enough clinicians. You are all currently helping to close the gap by providing an outlet for those who find themselves having to repeatedly say, “I’m fine,” when they are not. I applaud your compassion and love in the spirit of generous self-giving. Sharone Hardesty

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New club promotes mental health amidst pandemic