SMILE spreads positivity through “Hearts for Campus” project

SMILE plans to display positive messages sent in by students, faculty, staff and alumni around campus during the first few weeks of school. // Photo courtesy of Carsen Miller

SMILE, one of Tech’s newest campus organizations, is hoping to welcome students, faculty and staff back this year with printed, heart-shaped messages strung around campus.

SMILE, which stands for “Spreading Messages in Love and Encouragement,” has been collecting messages from members of the Tech community as part of their “Hearts for Campus” campaign. Individuals are encouraged to contribute their favorite Tech memory, a note about what they miss about campus or any general positive and welcoming messages to the project. 

“The Hearts for Campus initiative is to promote a positive and unifying community experience for the Georgia Tech community as a whole. It’s an opportunity for incoming students, returning students, faculty, staff and just everyone to get out whatever’s meaningful to them about Georgia Tech,” said Kori Alejandro, fourth-year EE and SMILE member. 

Robert Weimar, a third-year BA who serves as SMILE’s Executive Vice President, explained the inspiration behind the project. 

“We came up with this project this summer because we wanted to find a way to put on an event that promotes positivity while maintaining social distancing measures,” said Weimar. “We thought it would be poignant if students and faculty could somehow contribute something that would appear physically on campus even if they aren’t there, and we also figured that a lot of us have been missing Tech for a variety of reasons.” 

The white and gold printed hearts can be found around Tech Green, with the possibility of the messages spreading into other parts of campus depending on how many submissions they receive. 

“I’m hoping personally that [the Hearts for Campus project] just makes people feel like they’re not alone on this big campus,” said Heather Fleming, second-year ID, who has helped with the marketing part of the project.

“Tech is one of those places where I think people feel like there’s this cloud of stress that sits over us because we’re all going through hard classes, it’s a hard schedule and we’re all going through a lot during our day-to-day. So I’m hoping it’ll remind people that there are so many positive things about Georgia Tech … I’m hoping it gives them the energy and the determination to create positive memories and connections for themselves,” said Fleming. 

The hearts will be taken down a couple weeks into the school year, but SMILE hopes to preserve them for years to come. 

“The plan for after Hearts for Campus is to put all of the hearts in some sort of album or binder so that way we can display them all, and hopefully donate it to the library. That way it can be a part of the archives and they can look back on it ten years from now and see what people were doing at Tech and what they loved about campus,” said Fleming. 

Students interested in joining SMILE can visit the organization’s page on Engage for more information. Fleming, who joined earlier this summer, discussed what made her get involved with the organization. 

“There’s nothing better to do than just to be kind to people. It’s not hard, and it can make or break someone’s day,” said Fleming. “It’s nice that SMILE is smaller. It’s like just one big smiley happy family of people who just want to do nice things for other people.” 

The deadline to submit messages to the Hearts for Campus project is Monday, Aug. 10. The form can be found at tinyurl.com/hearts4campus and all students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Tech community are welcome to contribute.