Post Secret U, is being presented by Gannon University’s Active Minds organization, will be going on Wednesday until March 14.
Post Secret U is a campus-based community art project that uses submitted secrets as an art display.
PostSecret is an ongoing community art project and blog, created and maintained by Frank Warren, where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
Active Minds will be tabling in the Waldron Campus Center as well as the Student Health and Counseling Services Center until March 14 and will have materials and postcards free to the Gannon community, Jenna Dunning, Active Minds president, said.
Active Minds is a student-led organization that seeks to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness. The organization tries to eliminate this by raising awareness about mental health and promoting help-seeking behaviors, Dunning, who is a senior psychology major and a biology minor, said.
The Post Secret U event will be similar to last year’s event, but larger, Dunning said.
There will be secret submissions, where students will put their secrets in lock boxes.
Mindi Hodder, Active Minds vice president, said telling secrets is beneficial to everyone because it helps relieve stresses and hard emotions people might feel inside.
Hodder said that with Active Minds, she finally feels like she can make a difference for others.
“I would love for students who participate to come away with a better understanding of their peers,” Hodder, a senior psychology major, said. “Seeing the display may make you realize how many people have some serious secrets they hold inside and that we all need to appreciate everything in our lives.”
The student secrets will be on display from March 31-April 11.
Dunning said Active Minds likes to use this part of the semester to kick-start Post Secret U because this is the part of the year where students are stressing out the most.
“We want to break up the monotony of studying and classes with a chance for students to ‘de-stress’ by submitting their secrets,” Dunning said. “A lot of students who participated in last year’s Post Secret commented on how submitting their secret made it feel as though a weight was lifted off of them.”
Last year, more than 200 secrets were submitted from Gannon students and many more were created during the display of Post Secret U that were never factored into the initial count, Dunning said.
“This year we are opening our networks up and trying to collaborate with as many student groups as possible,” Dunning said. “I have found that our success was not only due to participation from our members, but other organizations’ members as well.”
Many secrets last year touched on eating disorders, suicidal ideation, obsessive compulsive disorder, homelessness, loneliness and more, Dunning said.
The display last year was interactive, so students were able to stick Post-Its on secrets they felt compelled to speak on, Dunning said.
“Seeing the supportive reactions to the secrets from our community made me proud to be a Gannon student and it made all the time spent planning and fundraising worth every single second,” Dunning said. “I love doing this event because it brings the community together.”
There will be new and fresh ideas for this year’s Post Secret U event, Hodder said.
“Without giving away everything to come, I can just say it’s going to be awesome,” Hodder said. “And I think everyone is going to enjoy seeing the display.”
This article by Colleen Langham was originally published in The Gannon Knight on Feb. 26, 2014.