Sometimes it seems like no one cares. Fail a test? No one cares. Have relationship problems? No one cares. Drowning in debt? No one cares. How can a college with 26,882 undergraduates feel so isolated? Whether you’re struggling to study in the MLC at 2:30am or sitting in a three hundred-person lecture hall, a thousand problems probably flood your mind, other than the one sitting on your desk. A simple sentence of encouragement from a fellow classmate appears so far out of reach. Suddenly, while trudging to your next class you spot a handwritten letter hanging from a bulletin board. A sense of confusion and curiosity soon shifts to excitement and positivity. It’s time for a letter revolution.
Campus Cursive, an up and coming club at The University of Georgia, provides the unique opportunity for students to spread handwritten words of love, encouragement, and motivation to other UGA students. With over seventy successful chapters across the country, this community of love has finally come to UGA. Students can remember the exciting times of how fantastic it was to receive a handwritten letter during their childhood, before social media took control of communication.
Now, the volunteer process is simple. With no fees and very low time commitment, you can come to a Campus Cursive meeting, only twice a semester, to handwrite letters to be immediately distributed across areas like the MLC and throughout main campus. Students will stumble upon these letters in the bathroom, walking to class, or sitting in the hallway. Personal information and individual beliefs are discouraged to include in the notes, because the uplifting words written in these letters do not discriminate. The letters can be filled with anything from complex stories of journeys from hardship to success or simple words of inspiration. Everyone has their own tough times, but there are no high mountains without valleys. Whether your journey resembles a deep gorge or a slight dip, it is these low points in our life that make the high ones really shine. This low to high transition is the source of strength that Campus Cursive desires to target.
Emily Starling, 19, is a Public Relations major who co-founded Campus Cursive here at UGA. In charge of creating events and recruiting letter writers, Starling contains such passion for Campus Cursive. Starling claims, “We want to see love explode throughout campus. We’re so much more than just the number of people who show up. We are the combined capacity that all of our hearts have to love others.” Bound for success, Campus Cursive lets a simple yet power idea shine through stressful aspects of campus life. Imagine, instead of constantly seeing negative news, having hundreds of these letters of inspiration floating around. “We want everyone to know that no matter what they are going through, they have people rooting for them and standing in their corner,” Starling states. This reassurance represents the purpose of Campus Cursive: to spread love through letters.
Getting involved is just as easy as the process. Follow and message Campus Cursive on Instagram or Facebook to get on an email list that gives information on the next meeting time. Meetings last as long as you want to stay. Starling expressed her excitement to get as many people involved as possible because everyone is invited to join. Writing a letter can be just as rewarding as reading one. “I’ve found that those letters have often led to healing in my own heart, even if I’m writing them for others,” Starling says. Bringing back the art of handwritten letters is not an easy task; however, Starling mentioned that the first Campus Cursive meeting “has the potential to gain a lot of ground at UGA.”
With a growing number of involved students in this low time-commitment volunteer opportunity, Campus Cursive desires to have these letters circulate beyond the boundaries of main campus. With goals to begin delivering letters to specific locations, like homeless shelters, students will be able to touch the hearts of those beyond the arch. Also, as word of Campus Cursive increases, a program delivering letters to specific people will be implemented. Love letter “bundies,” as Starling describes, “are when people send request in for a loved one to receive a bundle of love letters to get through a tough time.” Not surprisingly, this selfless organization has further aspirations to reach as many people as possible.
Next time you walk through the MLC, instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed to view the tragic news of the day, keep an eye out for a handwritten letter. Inspiration and words of love from a stranger might be all you need to make it through that next test, the next relationship failure, or your next financial crisis. Essentially, this incredible volunteer opportunity has come to UGA to spread encouragement through handwritten words. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the letter revolution.
In a world where vampires and werewolves are constantly being written about, it is refreshing to find something that is a little off the beaten path. It is even more revitalizing when it involves a creature that is not widely known.
In Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Scorpio Races, centers around two young adult characters, who unexpectedly cross paths, and the fantastical creatures, capaill uisce (pronounced copple ooshka). If you are familiar with kelpies, or “water horses”, this may ring a bell.
The book is a compelling read about the capaill uisce, a dangerous and vicious species, and a race among local men who attempt to tame the wild beasts long enough to ride them. For teenager and underdog, Puck Connelly, who is a struggling orphan, the race is the only way to ensure that what is left of her family remains in one piece. On the other hand, Sean Kendrick, the one who knows the species by heart, is riding to ensure his financial freedom.
After Puck Connelly’s parents were killed when their boat capsized, she remained in the small family’s house with both her older and younger brother. Her older brother attempted to bring in enough money for the rest of the remaining family pieces to thrive on. However, he dropped a bomb on the struggling siblings when he announced that he would be moving away from the island where they lived.
This instigated Puck’s decision to enter the race — something a woman had never done before. The strong and determined young woman was refused to be taken seriously among the other men who entered in the race. True to her character’s development, she did not let that stop her. As one who never grew up around the capaill uisce, she was at a major disadvantage. However, as the plot progressed, she adapted to the disadvantages and gave the local racers a run for their money.
Opposite Puck was Sean Kendrick, another rider in the novel. Like Puck, he had lost his father due to a racing accident with the water horses. After his father’s death, Sean was taken in by the island’s biggest stable owner. There, he was employed as a stablehand with the kelpies who had been captured and tamed over the years. With this experience, and his natural ability with the creatures, Sean Kendrick had always been the top dog to win the races, bringing in money for his employer. Sick of working for another and not having his own freedom, Sean rides in the race to break free.
The entire novel is an engrossing piece that envelops the reader from the start — both from the fresh idea, as well as the well-penned paragraphs that fill each chapter.
From an author who previously wrote a trilogy revolving around temperature sensitive werewolves, I was a bit wary to delve into The Scorpio Races. While her former Shiver book trilogy was less than stellar, Stiefvater has completely redeemed herself with the idea behind the capaill uisce. She has taken a unique idea and turned it into a fantasy world filled with emotion.
The two main riders of the novel cross paths and find each other’s help in the training phases of the race. That being said, romance is a mere undertone and does not stand in the way of the plot. Thank God, finally a novel that does not center solely around someone dating someone else. Instead, each character is developed enough to be independent from each other and still prove to be interesting enough to read about. Most of the novel actually depicts the two separated from each other. However, as their paths do cross, Sean Kendrick welcomes Puck under his tutelage and the two develop a fine friendship.
Stiefvater has done an excellent job of developing two characters and allowing their lives to intersect, instead of depending on their “romance” to further the plot along. In fact, the plot would be able to stand alone without the small flame entirely.
Overall, this novel is a compelling read with a fresh and unique take on the fantastical world of literature. It utilizes a penmanship that reads smoothly throughout it’s entirety. With the plot and character development, which took years to create, the novel has come together almost perfectly. It is definitely a book to read to broaden the sense of the fantasy world.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars