By Devyn King
Senior Kay Kanakry has recently introduced a new way to promote positivity and college mental health awareness around campus through what she calls the shU ROCK Project. It is a social media for social change campaign she created that spreads positivity on social media and around campus.
The focus of this project is to place rocks around different parts of main campus that are painted with the phrase, “U Rock”.
If you are to find one of the 15 rocks, you are encouraged to spread the positivity by taking a photo of it and posting it on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram with the tag @shurock. There is then a chance to be featured on the shU Rock Project Instagram page.
“You can then either give it to someone to hide, or you can hide it yourself,” said Kanarky.
Senior Matt Gutierrez, a student here at SHU, found one of the 15 rocks that are spread around main campus and posted about it to support the project.
“I think it is a cool and subtle way to promote mental health,” said Gutierrez.
According to new research published by the American Psychological Association, “over one-third of first-year college students are impacted by mental health issues. The most common mental illness was major depressive disorder, with 21.2 percent of respondents experiencing lifelong symptoms, followed by general anxiety disorder, which affects 18.6 percent of students.”
“I find that a lot of mental health issues start happening during this time in our lives, and I think it is really important to shed a light on that subject,” said Kanakry.
According to Kanakry, the goal of this project is to get people to start talking about the subject of college mental health, and for the rocks to continue to spread around campus even after she graduates this spring.
There are three other ambassadors for this project that Kanarky has recruited to help her make this campaign successful. Junior Devin Gavigan, Junior Tyler McGann, and Junior Hope LeCours. These students have all supported the project and taken part in painting the rocks, hiding them, and spreading college mental health awareness on social media and around campus.
They too have been personally impacted by the shU ROCK Project.
“The rocks stand as a reminder that our thoughts and feelings matter, like we’re a part of something bigger,” said LeCours. “It is a silent acknowledgement that we are one piece to a giant puzzle of caring, unique, empowering SHU students, that only wish the best for one another.”
According to LeCours, the message of this project goes past just the rocks, but is rather how we treat ourselves, others, and the nurturing of our minds and feelings which we tend to neglect often. The rocks act as a reminder for this.
“I also personally believe that Kay, Devin, Tyler, and I, all four ambassadors, have made it our own personal initiatives to be there for anyone that needs it,” said LeCours. “As a sense of comfort, somewhere safe that people can vent their issues, to be a friend, and to spread kindness as far as we can.”