Members of a University of Wisconsin-Stout honor society have been focused the last six months on making the campus, region and world a more positive place.
The students, members of Tau chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, the National Honorary Society in Family and Consumer Sciences, launched a service project to send homemade cards to various groups, individuals and even random people they believed could use some positive reinforcement.
The theme of the project is Leadership Through Service: Spread the Love.
“Students noticed last fall that the social media and media in general had a negative tone. It really hit home with the media coverage of the death of a UW-Stout student,” said Carolyn Barnhart, a retired UW-Stout professor, adjunct instructor and adviser for Phi Upsilon Omicron. “They wanted to bring more positive thoughts into the world.”
At every meeting for six months they have made cards. They have sent them to various people on campus as well as to the international Cardz for Kidz, Operation Care 4 R Troops, the family of the UW-Stout student from Saudi Arabia who died and to children and families in need through Stepping Stones and United Way in Dunn County.
Their card-giving effort caught the attention of a card company, which donated 50 cards to the students. Positive quotes were written on the donated cards and given to various people on campus, left on tables in classrooms and posted on bulletin boards in the community.
Students feel good about doing something out of the ordinary to help others.
“The Spread the Love campaign is a unique movement to remind people of the love and respect that is on the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus,” said dietetics student Takoya Weber, of Menomonie.
Katelynn Hackl, of Suamico, also a dietetics student, said the campaign “allowed me to share kind words with others whom I may not know. It is simple to compliment or motivate a friend, but it is another level of kindness to say something sweet to a stranger who may need to hear your words more than you know.”
John Christiansen, of Eden Prairie, Minn., a health, wellness and fitness major, called it a “great experience with great people. Reaching out and helping others in any way I can is something I try to live by each and every day of my life. Being able to participate in an experience like this one definitely makes me feel alive and happy inside.”
This spring the students plan to send cards to assisted living residents in Menomonie.
“I am Stout Proud of the members in Phi Upsilon Omicron. They identified a problem in our world and worked for six months to make the world brighter and more positive for others on campus, in Dunn County and around the world,” said Barnhart, past president of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Last year the honor society created dozens of birthday bags for children from needy families in Dunn County. Students won a national award for their efforts.
This academic year, along with the card project, students worked with members of Delta Kappa Gamma in Dunn County and donated more birthday bags to Stepping Stones with homemade cards enclosed.
Top: Student John Christiansen works on a card with a positive message as part of the Spread the Love campaign.
Middle: Students from UW-Stout’s Tau chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, the National Honorary Society in Family and Consumer Sciences, made cards for U.S. military members via Operation Care 4 R Troops.
Bottom: UW-Stout students Tessa Ladsten, left, and Sarah Bedford, right, deliver birthday bags with homemade cards for children in Dunn County to Kris Pawlowski at Stepping Stones. Ladsten is majoring in dietetics, and Bedford is a graduate student in food and nutritional sciences.