Positivity Matters: messages around RIC

Isabella Santoro

Photography Editor

Photo by Isabella Santoro

Here at RIC passing by one of the entrances to the Dining Hall, and when going inside, one sees a surplus of positive messages hanging around for students. These notes and signs around campus bring a lot of pride for this college. These messages are important for students.

Some of the signs included messages about transgender rights, BLM, Asian rights, and spreading love and happiness. You might think that these signs are just there and that they are a pet project for students to do in their free time, but this is simply not the case. Research from Kings College in London, England shows that positive thinking reduces anxiety and positive self-talk also helps reduce intrusive negative thoughts. This is especially important for college students because most of them are stressed to the max with their social lives, schoolwork, and outside priorities. Seeing just one of these messages a day may help them to realize their self-worth and ease their stress and anxiety. These messages are realistic as well and do not sugarcoat anything. They are not overly done and simply state facts: that rights matter, that you matter, and so does your self worth.

The messages that directly talk about rights are some of the most important ones out there. They help students to realize that at RIC, we care about trans identities and other LGBTQ+ identities, and persons of color as well. It shows that these communities of people are not alone here and that they are welcome. So many people struggle every single day with their sexualities and gender identities and oftentimes these overlap with POC identities as well. While seeing these messages will not solve issues, it can certainly help them feel better about themselves and help them realize that they are not alone, that there is nothing wrong with who they are, and that they are loved here. It might also help them see that their college cares about their rights and identities and they may find RIC’s Pride Alliance or one of our many other clubs and organizations that offer a community and support.

It is extremely important that a student feels comfortable in their place of education and if they do not, then that school hasn’t done a respectable job of making them feel supported. Having POC students feel represented and supported is truly relevant as well in this age with all the turmoil that has persisted in the United States. Regardless of your race, gender, sexuality, or identity, you should feel safe in your place of education.

Having these messages and ideas sprouting around campus is particularly important for prospective students as well. Incoming first-year students will see that they are supported and that they matter here. It sends out a great message for our college and community in showing that this is an inclusive campus for everyone, not just some. It helps display voices here at RIC and highlights students that care about their fellow students and their community.

Also – this may inspire students to take action with their mental health issues. If seeing these messages strikes something in their brain that allows them to realize they need more support, that is amazing. Messages like “You are so loved” or “Your feelings are valid,” are especially important for students to see so that they can understand that there are people out there that recognize them and want to help. Others care about them and what happens to them. This may drive them to seek support with a therapist and there is nothing to be ashamed of there. In fact, about 40 percent of college students have sought out therapy for their mental health issues. This may inspire the college to think more about their students and their mental health and how they can further support them. It may inspire them to offer therapy for students who are having trouble accessing it otherwise.

Mental health issues are so huge for college students all around and by seeing a message just once may change so many mindsets. It may change an attitude, a view, or even save a life.


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