I’ve never felt so many emotions before than I did at the Love is Louder retreat on Sunday. If you, readers, ever need a safe place to go to talk about your feelings or make new friends, the members of Love is Louder are the best! They are such good listeners and they all have such interesting stories to tell.
Here is a little background about Love is Louder. The movement was started by actress Brittany Snow. You might remember her from movies like John Tucker Must Die and Pitch Perfect (which I really want to see!). Anyways, she created Love is Louder because so many teens were committing suicide because they were bullied for things like their sexual identity. The mission was to promote love and hope for people like Tyler Clementi , who went to Rutgers University and committed suicide because he was bullied.
Here at Towson, Laura Smith, the adviser of the group Love is Louder, pitched the idea to create a group at Towson with the same mission, to some of the RAs in Tower B. The RAs were totally on board. Just recently, the group became SGA funded!
To kick off the retreat, one of the executive board members prepared a game for us to play to warm us all up. It was freezing that morning! We played a game called “huggy bear” where we all got into a circle. When she called out a number, we had to find groups of that many people and hug them very tight. The people who were excluded were out. I am proud to say that I was the winner of “huggy bear,” which means I got the most hugs! I was already feeling so loved and accepted. Don’t be upset that you missed out, guys. Love week will be November 12 to November 16 and there will be plenty opportunities for free hugs!
After the game, came one of the most meaningful parts of the retreat. The executive board members told stories about personal connections to bullying and why they chose to be a part of Love is Louder. Paulomi Dholakia, the president of the club, shared a touching story. She was bullied when she was in elementary school because she loved to learn, especially science. Girls who used to be her friends began to exclude her because she was getting better grades than them. She even started to make herself perform worse on tests so that she could fit in. Soon she realized that it was more important to be herself, and today she wants to help other students come to this realization too.
Then, we began to discuss personal instances of bullying at the tables that we were sitting at while we dined on pizza and soda. We talked about how we would make sure that we spread happiness rather than negativity here at Towson. Many people were part of Love is Louder because they have younger siblings who they care about and they don’t want to see them get hurt.
Bullies are not just those boys or girls who push the smaller kids around on the playground. They can be in the form of friends, parents, bosses or coworkers. People who are 5 years old may experience bullying, but people who are 50 might experience it also, just in a different way.
Then came the fun stuff. We split up into different groups to do some activities that would bring more positivity to campus and help deter all of the bullying. I went with a group of people and we chalked positive phrases all over West Village. Here are some of the things we wrote:
You are awesome!
Somebody loves you!
Have an awesome day!
These things are all true. Smiling can make so many people’s days. I remember one day I was sitting on a bench outside of Linthicum freshman year with my roommate. We were smiling at everyone passing by, and a security guard came over to us. “More people should be like you guys,” he said. “Smiles mean so much.” Making him happy made us happy!
Everybody IS amazing and awesome. You may not realize it, but there are so many cool things about you. Are you awesome at drawing? Do you tell the funniest jokes? There’s always something cool about you that you may not share with everyone all of the time. Share it!
Somebody does love you. It is important to share your love with other people, too, so they know that you are there for them. Even though some people forget to tell you all the time, they do love you. So send a letter in the mail or even send a little text that tells the people you love how much they mean to you, and you will most likely feel the love coming back to you.
Every day should be great. If you have a positive attitude, small things won’t get you down.
When you wake up for class Monday morning, chances are you’ll look down and see some chalked writings beneath your feet. Here is a little experiment for you guys. Make the first phrase that you see a part of your day. If it says, “You are beautiful,” make some time out of your day to tell your friends that you love their personality and they’re outfits are always amazing. Remind people about what you love about them because after all, love IS louder. And don’t let the love fade when the chalk does. There is always a need for more love.
Do you guys have any bullying experiences you want to share? Do you have a plan for spreading positivity around TU’s campus? Comment on this post and tell me what you think! Love you, guys! 🙂 –Dana Kobilinsky
P.S. If you get the chance, watch this video of Towson students sharing the love around campus!