Student Senate passes PostSecretU bill

Graphic by Katie Kutsko

Girls stayed up late or rose in the early hours of the morning. They snuck down the steps from their cramped rooms to the basement. They checked the adjacent kitchen and living room to make sure no one else was around. Then, they posted their deepest secrets on a public bulletin board, revealed only to the 47 other girls who lived in the hall.

This is the scene every spring at Douthart Scholarship Hall, where residents participate in PostSecret, a nationwide project that allows people to share their secrets anonymously and publicly.

“You see everybody every day,” said Autumn Smith, a junior from Kinsley and Health and Wellness chair for the hall. “You smile and ask someone how they are, and they smile and say ‘I’m fine.’ But you don’t know what they’re really feeling or what problems they’re having in their lives.”

Next semester, this opportunity will be available to all students.

Active Minds KU, a student group focused on reducing the stigma of mental illness in the Lawrence community, is bringing PostSecretU to campus. There will be a booth in the Kansas Union where students can submit their secrets into a drop box. Members of Active Minds KU will choose which ones to post on a nearby bulletin board.

Maggie Chiu, president of Active Minds KU and a graduate student from Overland Park, said the project would begin Jan. 29. Chiu also said that the idea is similar to that of Whisper, a popular new mobile app.

“A lot of the secrets that I’ve been seeing have to do with mental illness — people battling depression or anorexia or anything like that,” Chiu said. “So we’re trying to open the eyes of the KU community and build a safe zone for people to share their secrets and to show others that everyone has similar issues.”

Active Minds KU will receive $235 in funding from Student Senate for the project.

Lauren Arney, a freshman from Stilwell and the senator who sponsored the bill to fund PostSecretU, said she thinks it will be more successful than the Whisper app.

“It’s a little bit different than Whisper because the secrets are on physical note cards,” Arney said. “It might seem more uncomfortable to participate in, but it will make more of an impact. It will allow students to become more educated and open-minded about how diverse our community is.”

Smith said that the project was able to work well in her hall, but she was unsure of how productive it would be for the campus as a whole.

“You may get a couple of brave people, but especially with other medium like Whisper out there, I highly doubt it’s going to be very effective,” Smith said. “Most often what you see with being anonymous is that it doesn’t entirely address the problem. I think the real problem is that students aren’t seeking help for their mental health issues.”

  • Updated Dec. 3, 2012 at 12:15 am
  • Edited by Christy Khamphilay