You Can Sit With Us held events across campus this month to raise awareness about bullying on campus and in the workplace in honour of anti-bullying week.
The Kindness Project was one of three events held. Students passing through RCW on Monday, November 12 were prompted to write a compliment or uplifting message on a sticky note and leave it on one half of the chalkboard labelled “Give What You Can”. They could also take a sticky note from the second half of the chalkboard labelled “Take What You Need”.
“These compliments are just to boost people’s days up and make sure they’re happy,” said Tom Nguyen, You Can Sit With Us president and third-year social work student.
The second event was a build-your-own cupcake evening in the student centre basement. Students came out and built their own cupcakes to de-stress and take a break from studying.
The event was also a fundraiser for St. Leonard’s SNAP program, described on their website as “an evidence-based program for male youth with serious disruptive behaviour problems and criminal justice involvement.” SNAP teaches these youth critical strategies for avoiding conflict and skills to make more positive choices in their lives.
The final event was Take A Compliment, where students could come to the RCW lobby, assemble a free self-care package and receive more compliments from other Laurier students. The goal of this event was to provide students with things they could take home to help de-stress during the last few weeks of school when assignments and exams build up, putting many students in stressful and unhealthy situations.
You Can Sit With Us is a Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union club whose mission, in their own words, is to “bring awareness about the issues and causes of bullying”.
“Most people think that bullying stops when you leave high school, but it can follow you into your adult life through the workplace,” said You Can Sit With Us secretary and third-year social work student Skyler Holmes. “To be good people, you can’t do that.”
According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 7 per cent of adult (18 years or older) internet users in Canada self-reported having been victims of online bullying. According to Statistics Canada 70 per cent of internet bullying victims are females, who receive hateful and threatening messages across various social media platforms as well as through email.
“Bullying has long-lasting effects for so many people of all ages and can severely impact someone’s mental health,” said Rachel Stultz, You Can Sit With Us vice-president. “University culture is not shy of bullying amongst online and real-life forms of bullying, which is why this group is so important on this campus.”
“Seeing people come to the booth and they’ll write something and take something of the wall and their spirits are lifted up… that’s my favourite thing,” said Nguyen. “We can make a difference.”
There are no more club meetings this year, but students can attend their bi-weekly Monday meetings next semester in RCW 324.
“We are very accepting if anyone wants to join us,” said Nguyen. “We’re going to be doing a lot of events throughout the year to raise awareness of bullying and give students more resources.”