Kailey Foster: Social distancing and virtual events have caused some students to feel disconnected from each other. Madison Leak USU Extension Marketing and Communications assistant joins me today to talk about a new campaign on campus that is helping bring students together.
First, what is the Hello campaign?
Madison Leak: The Say Hello campaign is a movement that one of my co-workers Mariela Luster. She came up with this idea after coming back to campus in January and seeing how disconnected all the students were. The masks are a physical barrier, but social distancing helped set an emotional barrier between people as well.
Mariela saw that and brought it to our team and was like, ‘I think there's something that we can do to help kind of overcome this and reconnect people’. She came up with a simple call to action; to say Hello.
Last Monday, there was a Hello Walk, a tradition at USU started by USUSA (Utah State University Student Association). This walk goes from the sidewalks from Old Main to the Huntsman School of Business.
We worked with Student Affairs and kind of put this campaign together. I think it can go far. I believe they are planning on doing it again in the fall.
KF: What are some takeaways participants should take away from this?
ML: Keep connecting with people even though it may seem hard.
In college, people are more likely to reach out to somebody new because that is the environment that we are in. But with COVID, we kind of all stopped making that a habit. And I think we should start that again.
Some of the takeaways from this would be; don't forget about the mental health resources. Here at USU, there is CAPS and physical activities you can do. There are plenty of resources online if you are struggling with mental health.
Another takeaway is to be kind to people and say hello.
KF: I know this was an on-campus event, but what can listeners that are not USU students take away from this?
ML: Obviously, USU is where it started, but I think that anywhere you are, you can start saying hello to people. When I was younger, you could say hello to anyone, and it was not weird. Now everyone is just tuned into their phone or doing their own thing. They do not connect with strangers on the street. And I think that that is something you can continue to do.
Look up, say hello, get out of your phone, beware of those around you, and it can honestly be a movement that goes way further than USU.