Over the past few weeks, you may have seen women strolling around campus in t-shirts emblazoned with Wicked or Lady Gaga lyrics. If so, the Stay Positive Campaign is already working.
“Our mission is to foster a positive, supportive community among the Chatham undergraduates by seeing the positivity within them,” says Julie Victain, one of five students who started the movement. The campaign evolved from an Advanced Public Relations assignment. “Our teacher, Dr. Katie Cruger, had asked the class to pick a mission initiative and create a project we could turn in for our final,” says Victain. “After brainstorming about projects dealing with the women’s empowerment initiative, we chose to do a project helping Chatham women to stay positive.”
The movement kicked off with a launch party on February 13th. “People made t-shirts with positive messages, and the atmosphere was enthusiastic and interactive,” Victain says. “Many participants were appreciative of the first event.” If you couldn’t make it to the launch party, no worries: “We have an event planned in the Mellon Board Room for after Spring Break on March 14th from 8-10pm. We will be hosting a karaoke dance party.” As the event gets closer, you can check for flyers around campus and find details on their Facebook page and Twitter feed. The ladies of Stay Positive hope to take their movement beyond Woodland Road, but for now they’re focused thoroughly spreading optimism on campus. “We believe that people must feel positivity within themselves before being able to spread it to the Chatham community.”
Want to learn more about the women behind the initiative? Read on for profiles of each!
Natrona Heights native Julie Victain had a link to Chatham before she got here: “we are the town that still makes glass bottled soda (found in Café Rachel).” While Victain grew up only 30 minutes from campus, she didn’t start her college career as a Cougar. Luckily, it sounds like the transfer paid off: “everyone is insanely nice.”
That sisterly vibe is definitely the kind of support network that helps when you’re a double major: Victain is studying “Professional Communication with a focus in Journalism and Public Relations with a minor in Political Science.” Even with such a packed schedule, this sophomore is wildly involved. “I write for the Communiqué,” says Victain. “I am a Resident Assistant on the 3rd floor of Woodland Hall. I have 2 work-study jobs, one in the Alumni Relations office and the other in University Communications.” Her schedule may be hectic, but Victain is determined to achieve her dreams of “Being an anchor for CNN and doing Public Relations for a university.” Why? “I have always loved writing and finding out facts. I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, and there is a picture of me as a little girl watching CNN with a huge smile on my face. I use that as inspiration to make all of my work my best.”
Ashleigh Fox, a sophomore from Oak Ridge, NJ, came to Chatham for its “small class sizes and beautiful campus.” She has been busy since her arrival: “I am on the school basketball team, a member of the Scholars and the creative writing club.” Though she connects people across campus through the Stay Positive initiative, she’s also wonderfully independent; her hobbies include “writing, reading, traveling, [and] hiking.” Love of the written word made choosing her majors easy: she’s studying Creative Writing and Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. “They are the two subjects I am most interested in and enjoy studying,” she says. Her dream job? “Being able to write my own works all day long.”
Sophomore Olivia Warren grew up in Pittsburgh, but she chose Chatham “because we have a really unique Creative Writing program that other schools I looked at don’t.” The Creative Writing major, Public Relations minor loves to use her imagination. “I’ve always been creative,” she says. “I love to write, and I love the idea of being behind the scenes of the entertainment industry. The two also sort of overlap each other, because I think creativity definitely helps with public relations.” The aspiring publicist and Creative Writing club member would like the Stay Positive movement to be a meaningful addition to Chatham: “I hope the ultimate impact will be a larger movement on campus that lasts hopefully for years to come.”
Senior Samantha Wockley stayed in her hometown for college. “I have always loved the strong sense of community and the importance of family that Pittsburgh seems to have.” Staying in a fabulous city wasn’t the only reason Wockley wanted to be a Cougar. “It was my favorite school from the start. They made me feel very welcome and like I was more than just a number to them.” Majoring in “Communications with a specialty in Public Relations,” Wockley’s academic interests have a lot to do with her personality. “I’ve always loved being around people and meeting different people so this seemed like that natural choice for me.” Her career will certainly be a social one: “I think I’d like to be an event planner one day or maybe someone’s publicist.” It seems like Wockley is well on her way, and she’s having a blast.“I work part-time for a radio station in the promotions department, so I would say music is a big part of my life. I spend a lot of time doing different things and going to different events for the station. I have a lot of fun with it.”
Public Relations major Miaoluowa Xie is a long way from her home in Chengdu, China, but Chatham eased the transition. “It’s an environmental and pretty school,” she says. The population size helps, too. “Small classes are better for international students to get involved in academic life,” she says. The aspiring “PR professional in the fashion industry” has artistic interests: “movies, fashion, languages.” That inclination toward ingenuity sets her up to make valuable contributions to the Stay Positive Movement. She hopes the project will make a difference on campus. “Students at Chatham can find who they are and have a positive attitude about themselves and also toward people around them.”