Skiing brought Alexander Becraft to Utah, but it’s the community he’s built at the U that’s keeping him here. As a senior working toward his Bachelor of University Studies degree in psychological and social entrepreneurship, Becraft is on a team of finalists for the 2019-2020 American Dream Ideas Challenge and the recipient of the 2020 Ivory Prize for Excellence in Student Leadership.
At the center of these accomplishments is “Well-being Elevated,” a social impact venture comprised of an app, website and support groups that provide preventative and scalable mental health services for college students and Utahns. Becraft co-founded the program with Ed and Carol Diener, both leading researchers in psychology and well-being as well as creators of a well-being course called “Enhance.” Well-being Elevated is also comprised of a team of graduate and undergraduate students.
“With Well-being Elevated, we are using the Enhance content the Dieners created and are providing lessons and interventions on topics such as strengths, resilience, coping with negative events, emotions and thoughts, mindfulness and much more,” said Becraft. “We have been conducting support groups which have helped us understand our students’ needs very well and we’ll start developing the app in the next month.”
Becraft said his interest in mental health started when he worked at a mental health facility that treated alcoholism and addiction. He developed an interest in positive psychology and a passion for being a part of positive changes in others’ lives. Now more than ever, he wants to provide people with tools and strategies that help them build resilience and thrive in the face of challenges and stressors.
“These past couple months have been turbulent and challenging for so many of us,” said Becraft. “We really want to do our part to support the mental and emotional health of all those we serve at the U and beyond.”
The Ivory Prize award includes a $2,000 prize for the recipient and a $10,000 donation to their cause. Clark Ivory, former chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, established the prestigious award to recognize extraordinary and influential student-led projects that positively impacted the community and/or fostered efforts that have enabled meaningful change.
“This is an extremely generous donation that will help the development of our technology and support our team,” said Becraft. “In addition to the tangible benefit to our work, it is very encouraging to have the support of the Ivory Foundation and to be recognized for the work that we’re trying to do to impact others. My team and I are very grateful.”