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Compassion 4 Change: How One Aggie Set Out to Make the World a Better Place

Liberal arts student Ashlyn Chauhan ‘22 gives back to the community by founding an organization which aims to help students and victims of trauma.

By Mia Mercer ‘23

Picture of mental health activity books.

TAMU C4C fundraises for and distributes mental health activity books for people of all ages who suffer from various forms of trauma. These books come in different editions depending on the age of their intended audience.

Like many College of Liberal Arts students, junior psychology major Ashlyn Chauhan ‘22 has a passion for helping others. That’s why she brought Compassion 4 Change (TAMU C4C) to Texas A&M University, an organization that supports people with mental health challenges through fundraising and acts of kindness.  

“I have learned over the years that a compassionate attitude can soften even the hardest of hearts,” Chauhan said. “I truly believe that we have the power within us to empower each other and ourselves to form a strong community of leaders.”

Chauhan’s interest in helping others began in high school, when she volunteered to help send 500 mental health activity books to foster children across the nation. During her freshman year, after not feeling quite at home, she harkened back to her days in high school and made a decision. She began laying the groundwork for what we now know as TAMU C4C and reached out to the founder of C4C, Dana Smith.

“There were other students who were in the same position that I was in as a freshman, and I felt a need for someone to advocate for our students,” Chauhan said. “After the conversation with Dana I decided to start TAMU C4C here, because I was too passionate about it to not do it. So that was the beginning of it all.” 

With the help of friends and mentors, Chauhan created the Texas A&M division of C4C and became its president. The organization tries to embody the Aggie core values of integrity and selfless service in all that they do. Their biggest project is fundraising for and distributing mental health activity books, which are created through fundraising corporate sponsorships from businesses like James Avery and HEB as well as private donations. These books come in different editions for children and adults, and are created by the parent organization with the help of trained professionals. They are then distributed by the student-led C4C divisions, such as the one Chauhan founded.

Picture of a social media post.

TAMU C4C has Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to remind students the importance of mental health.

Along with the mental health books, TAMU C4C have written virtual thank you notes to faculty and staff and they plan to virtually visit retirement homes. One of Chauhan’s favorite memories was giving out 400 donated Krispy Kreme donuts to students during exam time.

“That was so impactful to me because I felt like I was seeing the result of what compassion does, how something that seems so insignificant like giving out a free donut made so many peoples’ day,” Chauhan said. 

The College of Liberal Arts has helped Chauhan in starting this organization and the door for TAMU C4C is open to all who want to make a positive impact on the world; there is no application process and no rejection.

 “At the end of the day, regardless of any sort of social or biological factor, we are all Aggies,” Chauhan said. “We all have a chance here to make a difference and that’s what matters the most.”