ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2021

United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In 2021, over 25,000 young leaders on 2,000+ campuses across 153 nations applied to join the Class of 2021. 136 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 2,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2021 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.

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UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT ROHAN GOPAKUMAR, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

Indian Institute of Technology Madras | Chennai, India | Advancing SDG 3 & UNAI 2

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" The Millennium Fellowship will stamp our crusade with the proper institutional legitimacy essential to grab the attention of those in power, those who are capable of stirring systemic changes. Students are not cramming machines. Their positionality as subjective beings must be brought to the fore, and being a Millennium Fellow will aid me in doing just that. We will finally have the clout to negotiate with campus bureaucracies to back our campaign. The legitimacy conferred by the Fellowship will increase the chances of college authorities adding mental health to the student agenda while making academic and extra-curricular decisions concerning student life.They will also have a greater incentive to conduct mental awareness drives within campus, and to bring mental health under the rubric of the subsidized health facilities often provided by campuses. Students will have a say in how they are made to feel. Ten students on their own cannot usher in that change. Ten students and the UN, however, is a completely different matter. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: IITM Mental Wellness Network

IITM Mental Wellness Network is a grassroots level endeavour aimed at raising mental health support systems within the student community. We will work within the IIT Madras campus and with underprivileged students from around the city of Chennai. We planned to mobilize students into tightly-knit support groups at the intra- and inter-departmental levels so that their mental health issues can be voiced in safe spaces. We will also work towards normalizing conversations surrounding mental health and conduct campus-wide data collection drives to cater to the specific needs of students. More importantly, we shall engage in a conversation with campus administration and other stakeholders to introduce a formal mental health infrastructure as part of the healthcare facilities available to students on campus, both in terms of counselling as well as medical attention. Simultaneously, we aim to interact with school students and introduce them to issues regarding 'Mental Health' potentially helping form an inter-university mental health support system that connects major campuses in South India. IITM Mental Wellness Network ultimately wishes to constitute a dynamic network that evolves with changing needs and times, in ways that understand connections between mental health and other spheres of life, such as educational quality, or gender equality.

About the Millennium Fellow

Hailing from the beautiful coastal city of Thiruvananthapuram at India's southern tip, Rohan Gopakumar studies English at IIT Madras and hopes to be a professional wordsmith one day, but this habitual pen-wielder cannot be sated by words alone. A student leader with a keen interest in journalism, Rohan combines an unwavering focus honed by years of academic excellence with his passion for social justice and belief in the power of collective action. As founder of the IITM Mental Wellness Network, the twenty-year-old and his cohort now turn their eyes to the student community in IIT Madras and beyond, hoping to take decisive steps in addressing the dearth of proper mental health support systems for students buckling under academic and homebound pressures during the pandemic via a strong data driven approach. The youngster hopes to chip in his share towards the collective aims of health and well-being as well as the practical necessities of capacity building enshrined in the SDGs and the UNAI principles.