WIU Students are trying to Change the World

There has been a lot of buzz around campus about a movement called the “#WIUnselfie Movement”, so of course I had to see what it is all about. One of the creators of the movement, Brian Kocher, explained to me how it started. He is a first year grad student in the College Student Personnel (CSP) program. In his group dynamics class taught by Tracy Davis, the students were split into groups and given the assignment “to make the world a better place”. There was no other criterion for this assignment.

Kocher’s group had seven other students in it; Caitlyn Westfall, Melinda Daniels, Danielle Buckner, Kelly Severs, Brett Moody, Maggie Miller, and Amy Bumatai. They decided to promote unselfish acts on campus for their assignment and they wanted to do so by utilizing social media. Thus, the #WIUnselfie Movement was born. The movement encourages unselfish efforts like leaving positive messages written on sticky notes around campus or paying for a stranger’s meal at a fast food restaurant. This assignment reminded me a lot of one of my favorite movies, Pay It Forward. The difference between this movement and Pay It Forward was the emphasis on social media. “After brainstorming we decided how we are going to change the world, how we can as grad students. We decided to counteract the negative social media sites like Yik Yak and Fade that have become popular on campus,” said Kocher.

The students created #WIUnselfie Movement accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The #WIUnselfie Movement social media accounts were created so that when students saw someone doing something unselfish on campus, they could document the acts or “unselfie” them. In other words, students can snap a picture of the person and tweet it (with the hashtag) #WIUnselfiemovement; the movement’s account will then retweet the posted picture. Kocher explained some of the different ways they implemented the movement on campus. “We partnered with ‘Make a Difference Day’, on October 22nd. We made an Instagram sign out of cardboard that cost us a total (of) $3.50. This sign was a tangible thing for the movement to be recognized by,” said Kocher. The movement’s group members went around campus with their sign and had people take a picture with it if they were doing something great. This got a lot of attention on campus, but they wanted to get the word out even more so they made an educational video. You can view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkVrrvgSeZY.

I think it is great that WIU students are promoting positive social media usage on campus and that we are recognizing people for doing great things. College can be very stressful; it’s important to take a step back and admire the amazing people we are surrounded by.

Kocher’s class ends this semester so they are handing the movement over to Western’s All Volunteer Effort (WAVE), an organization on campus that provides students with volunteer opportunities. Kocher hopes that with the help of WAVE as well as the educational video the movement will continue to thrive. Let’s make a difference and continue to promote unselfishness with the #WIUnselfie Movement. You can like the movement on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wiunselfiemovement or follow it on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WIUnselfies.


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