How many people did you help by writing your last English paper?
For six students in an Organizational Studies activism class, the objective is not only to make the grade, but to help fellow University students express their secrets in a healthy, confidentially.
The Yellow Box Campaign is intended to be a cathartic means for University students to divulge things they might otherwise keep bottled up. Boxes, pens and paper, have been discreetly placed in different areas around campus including the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, Michigan Union, Mason Hall, and several residence halls.
LSA sophomore Julie Siegler said the project, which kicked off Thursday, will be in place for the rest of the year. The team hopes to get at least 500 responses in that time.
“Everyone has those little secrets that they would never tell anyone, and this is a way for them to do that,” Siegler said. “Once you’ve written it down, it’s out, it’s done and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Siegler felt that the aspect of confidentiality would appeal to students, adding that the posts will be shredded and disposed of once the boxes are full.
“Keeping things bottled up isn’t healthy and can often lead to depression and other mental health problems,” Siegler said. “By writing down your secret, you’re helping to externalize it and make it objective, not subjective, which makes everything more manageable.”
“At this point, social media is something that’s viewed as cool and trendy, so we felt like this would be a good way to help people express themselves,” she said. “We’re expecting people will have things to say, whether they be these deep, profound statements or just things they don’t want to keep a secret any longer.”
Siegler said the group is currently looking for other organizations to collaborate with. So far, the group has earned the support of the organization To Write Love on Her Arms, which provides assistance to students struggling with self-abuse.
“I could definitely see this project continuing on if people are willing to do it,” she said. “It’s relatively low-key; all you need are the boxes and then someone to supply the pens and paper, so it’s definitely achievable.”
Siegler acknowledged that this level of honesty might be difficult for some students, especially with secrets they’ve kept for a long time.
“I can understand that this could be uncomfortable or something people are made to feel weird about, but it’s a private decision and a private conversation with yourself that can really help you in the end.”