FROM READERS: Student group encourages others to accept natural beauty

Friday, February 7, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA – Random Acts of Beautiful was an initiative that was started in the fall of 2013 by Stephens College’s Executive Board of Student Government Association. I brought the idea after receiving a call that a good friend of mine had committed suicide. After the loss, I wanted to do something on campus to benefit students and make sure they knew they were never alone. After gaining the support of President Dianne Lynch and the rest of the Executive Board, the planning process began.

Our mission for this initiative was to go around and find different ways to promote self-empowerment and self-love while spreading the word that you are beautiful no matter what the circumstances are. This idea stemmed from Random Acts of Kindness. Doing good things for people makes people happy; realizing and accepting the natural beauty of a person’s inside and outside makes people happy too. We wanted to bring this type of love and happiness to Stephens. Our aim was that every woman on campus would feel love, positivity, and see that there was someone or some entity that was looking out for them. 

Random Acts of Beautiful has shown up on campus in a few different forms. The first Random Act done was distributing buttons to students, faculty, and staff. The Executive Board members all took turns working shifts in Stamper Commons. There was a table set up with 6 different buttons on them. Some of the most popular buttons were “I am Beautiful” and “I am Important." When people heard what we were trying to do with this initiative, they were all very receptive and said they couldn’t wait to see what else we had in store.

The next Random Act was making flyers that said “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s time those eyes belong to you,” with pull off tabs that said “I am Beautiful." We put them up all over campus, including the dorms, hoping that our message would be seen and if anyone needed a reminder that they could pull off a tab either for themselves or for a friend. We also wrote words of encouragement on the mirrors in the bathrooms, as well as windows that were frequently passed by to reinforce the message. We asked students to take pictures of why they felt beautiful and post them on our Facebook page.

The last Random Act of the semester took place at Midnight Breakfast. We asked students to write on the speech bubble words of empowerment and things that they considered beautiful. We had different women talk about what is beautiful about being a Stephens woman, what is beautiful about being in Greek life, or simply that they were beautiful.

We had such a great response to all of our Random Acts. This is something that we want to see expand. It has impacted us on the Executive Board, and we want to see this impact all women in all walks of life because we believe that whenever you project positivity you will see it come back to you. This is a small step we’re taking to make a big impact in the mind of our women, and hopefully we can take these principles and see them be applied everywhere, not just Stephens College.

Current senior Annie Malin and I are collaborating to come up with ideas to keep the initiative alive. I am also working with my sophomore class officers to implement this initiative in some other avenues as well. There are three projects underway as we speak. We are taking it to the next step and challenging our women to do great things for others and capture it. All the challenges and responses will be made available on our Facebook page.

Brianna Jackson is a sophomore at Stephens College.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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