Students send messages of hope

QU students write letter to community members

By Chloe Nott

Quincy University students wrote special messages to members of the community last Thursday. The Message of Hope event was held as part of Quincy University’s annual Social Justice Week. Students were able to visit the Student Success Center between 12-2 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. to write letters to those struggling during the pandemic.

This year’s Social Justice Week had a specific emphasis. ‘Connected by COVID’ and ‘Healing a Broken Nation’ urged students to come together, remembering the year that has been and how we can adapt as a society to achieve collective care, safety, and protection.

Students were able to choose who they directed their message towards. Options included frontline workers, government officials, nursing home residents, and others affected by the pandemic. They were also able to anyone that had been significant in their lives personally. The Success Center provided cards, colored pens, and stickers. Guides on what to write were available but students were also encouraged to put some thought into it to be as creative as they wished.

After a year living with the pandemic and civil unrest, Ferguson Smith wanted to use this opportunity to uplift all of the important work people are doing to keep the community safe and connected.

“We wanted to breed just an atmosphere of hope, of anticipation, of gratitude,” Ferguson Smith said.

The event was also a way for students to reflect on the year that has been, and how they can make a difference in their community. Many students had been personally impacted by COVID-19 and could relate their experience when writing to others. A letter from a stranger can brighten someone’s day. For someone to know they are not alone or forgotten is extremely important for people of all ages, no matter what is going on in their life.

QU student Riley Hayes wrote letters to a variety of community members, from nursing home residents to first responders.

“I think it’s nice to promote a message of hope in these uncertain times,” Hayes said. “I’m writing to those who’ve been working hard and those who have been lonely and haven’t seen anyone in a long time.”

Social Justice Week 2021 “Solidarity Cures” t-shirts for students writing messages of hope.

QU student Rachel Edwards gathered inspiration for her messages from people she knew.

“I think it’s important to appreciate those working really hard and haven’t had time in the last few months to think and feel appreciated,” Edwards said.

Students were able to write as many letters as they liked. In return, they received a Social Justice Week t-shirt and service learning hours for their contribution.

The letters will be distributed this week by QU Student Development.

Social Justice Week events are put on by QU’s Multicultural Programs Office for QU students, staff, and faculty. Other events held during the 2021 Social Justice Week included the Journey to Justice interactive installation, ‘Cans and Coats’ food and winter clothing drive, Courageous Conversations keynote panel, and the Spread Kindness care package creation for QU Hawks.

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