Good Vibes week spreads positivity on campus and beyond

by Thea Byrd / Beacon Staff • November 13, 2014

Sophomore Rhys Scheibe co-created the Good Vibes program with senior Claire Hilton, both resident assistants on campus. The poster was designed by fellow senior resident assistant Kara Dodd.
Sophomore Rhys Scheibe co-created the Good Vibes program with senior Claire Hilton, both resident assistants on campus. The poster was designed by fellow senior resident assistant Kara Dodd.

Upon nondescript, foldable plastic tables sat stacks of bright watercolor-style cards with royal purple fading to flaming red, then to sunny yellow, proclaiming “Good Vibes” in bold white script above the Emerson emblem. Five boxes—one for each building and one if the sender didn’t know which building the recipient lived in—were filled with these postcard-sized notes. Throughout last week, students lined up across campus to write notes of affection, admiration, and encouragement on these cards, to be delivered to their peers, friends, and roommates.

Good Vibes was a weeklong program led by resident assistants Claire Hilton and Rhys Scheibe and designed to uplift the campus spirit by having students send and receive positive notes. The cards were supplied at tables stationed in Piano Row and the Little Building, and at the security desks in the Colonial Building and Paramount Center. On Sunday, resident assistants in every dorm delivered most of the cards directly to students’ rooms, though Hilton said some of cards were turned in late, so there were still deliveries happening on Monday and Tuesday. In total, over 3,780 were delivered.

“We jokingly were saying that this is our opportunity to play platonic cupid, or a glorified mail person, running around and grabbing and ultimately delivering [the Good Vibes],” said Hilton, a senior performing arts major.

Hilton said their original goal was for each student on campus to get a Good Vibes card, although they weren’t sure if it could be met.

“I printed a small amount at first, because I was afraid no one was going to do this,” said Hilton, “and it would have been terrible if, on top of no one doing it, I had stacks upon stacks upon stacks of cards.”

The response was more than they could have hoped for, Hilton said—they ran out of their initial round of cards on Monday, the first day of the program.

They ended up meeting their goal by the end of the week, reaching each on-campus student, and many living off-campus through emailed cards, according to Hilton. Hilton had a roster of students living in each building, and she and the other RAs kept track of whom cards were being written for to measure the progress towards their goal.

“It’s beyond anything we ever expected it to be, and we are so grateful for that,” said Hilton. “The first day was really just amazing, the amount of support we got with it and the people coming up to the tables and writing notes. And it’s just continued throughout the past couple days.”

RAs have a budget to run on-campus events like this through the Office of Housing and Residence Life, which is how they financed the printing of the cards, according to Hilton.

Freshman Maggie Cannan said she had been writing Good Vibes to her friends every day of the program, so that they would get one for each day of the week.

“Sending out good vibes... just brightens your day,” said Cannan, a visual and media arts major and Piano Row resident. “It makes me really happy to show my friends that I love them and let them know I’m there for them.”

The original idea for Good Vibes came from Scheibe, who said his high school did something similar.

“I had the idea because we were hitting mid-semester, midterms and everything else were piling up,” said Scheibe. “We wanted to have something to bring the community up, so the idea [of Good Vibes] came back into my head, and I thought the idea would be awesome for Emerson, so why not bring it here?”

The cards, the posters, and the Facebook page promoting the event, were designed by senior resident assistant Kara Dodd. Dodd said she made the design in Photoshop.

“I was just looking for something that was Emerson-spirited, but a lot fun,” said Dodd, a marketing communications major, “like something someone would want to hang on their dorm room wall.”

To continue spreading the Good Vibes sentiment, Hilton and Scheibe organized an event to end the week. Good Vibes: Chalk It Up was held on Sunday from noon until dusk in the Boylston Place alley, where students and passersby created what Hilton called a “love letter to Boston,” using chalk to write notes of love and draw pictures on the brick walkway. Hilton estimated that about 70 people participated. The next morning, the alley was scrubbed clean, according to Hilton, but she said she was happy with the level of participation and the process, despite their work being so quickly washed away.

Hilton said students seemed very appreciative of this opportunity to reach out to their peers in a positive way.

“In talking to a lot of residents, inhibitions towards reaching out were kind of down, but the outlet for which they were going to do that was unclear,” said Hilton. “We were like, ‘How can we help find a way so they can do that?’”

The notes could be anonymous, although Hilton said many students opted to sign them so the recipients knew who they are from. To ensure that the notes were truly positive, she said they were being screened by resident assistants, though they had to pull very few.

Sophomore Monica Rosenblatt said in the first day alone, she had sent out about 50 Good Vibes notes.

“[They] should do [the program] at least three times a semester,” said Rosenblatt, a performing arts major.

Hilton said that after the high participation this year, they are considering holding a Good Vibes week every year.

“The scale in our heads was kind of small, and it’s already been exceeded,” said Hilton. “And so if it does become an annual thing, I would just hope it would get bigger and bigger.”