Make the Change one word at a time

COLBY WEBER, Staff Writer

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After a long day, it can feel as if life is beginning to weigh down on you. Whether it’s an assignment that didn’t go as well as you had hoped or troubles with friends and family, there are a variety of problems that can make getting through the day tough. From professors to students, everyone can feel overwhelmed sometimes. However, a new student organization known as Make the Change is attempting to brighten the moods of those who need it.

“We’re an organization founded on spreading kindness and encouragement to people who need it,” said Camryn Salvador, president of Make the Change. “Some of the main things that we do are our letter bundles.”

Words of love and encouragement are written on the letters and sent to selected nominees. Nominations can be for peers, friends, coworkers or professors. While the specifics of the nomination process are still being worked out by the executive team, it is primarily the vice president’s job to determine who their organization writes letters for. The nomination forms for letter bundles contain two to three paragraphs about why Make the Change should support a certain person.

These letter bundles were inspired by More Love Letters, an organization that writes handwritten letters, cards and notecards. In order to avoid uncomfortable feelings, the letters which Make the Change sends out are not labeled with the names of the senders.

According to their website, Make the Change has written a total of 204 letters to 20 people since their formation in 2018. They have also created “kindness rocks” to spread positive messages and “Pass it On” cards.

Make the Change has a process in order to determine the content of their letters.

“The members who are writing in the letters — we encourage them to use personal stories, favorite quotes and words of kindness that they might want to hear if they were going through something similar,” Salvador said. “We’re all humans, and we all have tough times. We try and let our members use those encouraging words that you once heard or words that you once told yourself.”

While at club meetings, students are also encouraged to find quotes on Pinterest, Quotable or other websites. Some members even draw pictures. Each member has their own way of spreading kindness to others, and Salvador finds all the various methods for expressing love to be wholesome.

After the letters are written, the executive team of Make the Change takes 20 minutes to screen the letters for potentially harmful content. This is to avoid situations where people who are down on themselves are sent mean or hurtful comments.

“The mission of Make the Change is to strengthen and uplift our community through encouraging acts of kindness,” Salvador said. “That’s our very short version of that. We go on to talk about how we want everybody to join our movement and choose kindness always as their first option.”

Leaders at Make the Change also realize the importance of taking care of oneself in addition to others.

“As servant leaders within the community and as people who are pouring so much into others, that’s something that we really want to help our members with,” Salvador said.

At their first meeting, members participated in a “letter to yourself” activity.

“We’re planning another member-focused activity at the end of the semester to help them refill that cup that they’re pouring out of,” Salvador said.

Salvador encouraged people to nominate those they know are in need of love and support. Even though they had an overwhelming number of nominations at their first meeting, she wanted people to understand that what they do isn’t possible without them.

Those who would like to nominate someone for a letter can visit www.makethechange.weebly.com.

Meetings for Make the Change take place in the Oak Room in Maucker Union, usually on Monday evenings. A schedule with specific dates and times is available on their website. Those who wish to get involved can find more information on their website and social media pages @makethechangeUNI.

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