It’s safe to say that colleges and universities everywhere have been shaken by the effects of the looming coronavirus this past year.
While professors struggle with learning names and half-masked faces in the classroom, students are struggling with overwhelming workloads and the fear of the unknown regarding their futures.
These struggles are being acknowledged everywhere, and here at VSU, The College of Science and Mathematics (CoSM) and the Giving Undergraduates Ideas to Directly Encourage Success (GUIDES) Program have implemented a new system to provide hope for students, professors and other members of the Blazers community.
Theresa Grove, a biology professor and associate dean of CoSM, has worked alongside GUIDES to implement the new Wishing Wall.
Located in Bailey Science Center, the Wishing Wall was introduced to allow anyone to write down their hopes and goals and place them on the wall for others to see and serve as a support system.
Grove said GUIDES, funded by the USG Stem IV Initiative Grant, was created two years ago prior to the pandemic to serve struggling freshmen in STEM and anyone else in the science or math communities who needed help.
“When students enter VSU from high school, sometimes that transition can be challenging, especially in STEM,” Grove said. “GUIDES is geared towards helping incoming students get the tools they need to be successful.”
Once the pandemic hit, students and faculty alike were posed with new challenges and stress like any they had experienced before. Grove and the peer mentors from GUIDES knew they had to jump in to help.
“One of the peer mentors, Sam Panzica, brought up the idea of the Wishing Wall and [it] came about—we did it last spring near the end of the semester too because students are stressed,” Grove said.
“There’s a lot of new worries,” Grove said. “Whether it’s about the pandemic, whether it’s about last year when we were hy-flex or online when the pandemic started, there’s just a lot of stress that students and faculty are under.”
The Wishing Wall is open to any and every one of all majors, backgrounds and beliefs to also shed light on the diversity within VSU.
“We’ve gotten emails from students asking if it would be appropriate if they write a prayer, [and] yes, anything is appropriate and welcome,” Grove said.
The goal of the Wishing Wall is for people to use it as an emotional outlet, so they can see that they are never alone in their struggles. There is no aspiration too out of reach for anyone, even in these trying times.
Theresa said she hopes that the Wishing Wall poses not just as a symbol of comfort but also unity and inclusion.
“We want to create a sense of community not only in the College of Science and Math, but also within the university,” Grove said.
The Wishing Wall is open until Oct. 1, but Grove and GUIDES plan on continuing this in the future.
“We want to do the Wishing Wall again at the end of the academic year around April through finals,” Grove said. “The goal is to do it at the beginning of each year and at the end of each year.”
No matter how big or small the challenges of these unprecedented times may be, the GUIDES Wishing Wall is here to help ease minds and enlighten people about various goals, dreams and backgrounds.
Written by Meghan Hicks, Staff Writer.