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Operation Confidence: NKU Campus Sees Notes of Encouragement Popping Up

Students in Kristin Hornsby’s Honors Race, Gender, and Theatre (TAR 102H) class were tasked late this semester with finding a way to benefit the campus community in some way.

The positively inspired result is posted all over campus in encouraging notes stuck to walls, doors and windows. It’s all part of the Operation Confidence campaign the class came up with to boost confidence during the stressful end of the semester and finals week.

“We had to come up with a common theme from the plays we'd read and class discussions we'd had,” 18-year-old sophomore Paige Moorhead said. “We decided our theme would be, ‘you are more than your image,’ because the statement accurately reflected a lot of the characters' struggles to overcome negative stereotypes relating to race and gender in the plays we read.

“This idea of spreading positivity and acceptance is important for such a diverse campus, especially when students are experiencing so much stress with exams coming up.”

The students in the class began putting up Post-it notes several weeks ago and the response prompted the class to take the effort to the campus community, giving everyone on campus the chance the leave a note.

“People noticed these positive notes around campus, and were curious about what they were, and when they found out who was putting them up and why, they really liked the idea,” freshman Emily Ulrich said. “One of the librarians saw me put up a note in the library, and told me how much she liked seeing them everywhere. None of them stayed up for very long, but people definitely saw them.”

The students had a table in the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union where other students could join the efforts by writing their own encouraging notes. Those notes will be posted all over the campus during the next few days.

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“I was surprised how many different students, male and female, have been willing to take the time to write a Post-it note,” Paige said. “I was surprised by how much thought a lot of students put into these Post-it notes too. I saw more smiles while I was standing at the Operation Confidence table in the Student Union than I expected, whether students could take the time to stop or not.”

The students behind Operation Confidence believe they’ve achieved their positive impact.

“I hope that we've encouraged our peers to be confident in who they are and realize that they shouldn't let themselves be defined by the stereotypes that surround them,” Paige said. “Our messages all had a similar tone. A few examples would be, ‘Don't let anyone dull your sparkle,’  ‘Be confident,’ and ‘Is your face from McDonalds?  Because I'm loving it.’”

Emily is just as hopeful.

“I am hoping that we have spread some positivity around campus, especially so near finals week when people are stressing out and doubting themselves,” Emily said. “I hope that we have shared some confidence.”

Written by Tom Ramstetter of NKU's Web Marketing & Communication

Photos by Kristin Hornsby