By Amanda Deml, Director of University Recreation, Seattle University
“Cultivate Connection” is the theme of this year’s Project Positive campaign by University Recreation (UREC) at Seattle University—it’s needed now more than ever.
The pandemic continues to unearth research and data showcasing the feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression occurring worldwide, as separation from our friends, family and community continues. Fortunately for Seattle University, the last week of February is the perfect time for a campaign aimed to inspire joy, connection, and self-appreciation.
Project Positive is a signature UREC event that occurs annually at the end of February. This campaign, now in its seventh year, focuses on body positivity, celebrates the beauty of our own individuality, and inspires self-care. This project is typically demonstrated through special programming, campus and community partnerships, and an art installation at the University’s Eisiminger Fitness Center. The facility becomes completely transformed with art, graphics, and quotes that embrace the chosen theme, while, self-love, appreciation and positivity are weaved into existing programs, services and spaces. In past years, specific themes have included “Radiate Within” and “Explore Your Strength,” to name a few.
Project Positive was created by Christin Everson, UREC Assistant Director of Marketing & Events, as a way to provide more kindness and validation to our students, who seemed to be moving their bodies out of a hope for physical change, rather than out of care. We wanted to empower them to know that they are special and valuable, just as they are. Since its launch in 2015, Project Positive has received two Creative Excellence Awards from NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation (the national premier campus recreation professional organization) for outstanding achievements in marketing (first place in 2020 and second place in 2019).
Although the landscape looks a bit different this year, and Project Positive will be executed primarily in a virtual environment, the energy, thoughtfulness and positive feelings will still exist in a meaningful way. In a year that has challenged our ability to easily connect to the things we love, this year’s theme of “Cultivating Connection” will focus on reflecting and identifying the people, places and things that make us feel connected and most like ourselves, including connections to oneself, community and nature.
A variety of events and initiatives will take place throughout the week of February 22. Digital highlights include interactive social media; a photo project that highlights the connectedness of our community; daily videos that support the many ways our community experiences connection; daily newsletters; and a themed Spotify playlist. The facility spaces that are currently open on campus will be decorated, and special events such as livestreamed Yoga for EveryBODY, virtual intramural trivia, and a ‘5k Your Way’ will occur throughout the week.
Everson explains, “While body positivity is usually a more pronounced message, we’ve reflected on the true needs of our community this year, and are focusing instead on the connection that so many of us are missing at this time. We have been inspired by the opportunity to create something that directly aligns with the needs of our students and have found creativity in the virtual expression of this program. Project Positive, at its most basic level, exists to inspire the Seattle University community to love and care for themselves. While this year’s theme has a slightly different angle, we know our ability to innovate will enhance its reach and success.”
For a comprehensive overview of University Recreation’s Project Positive, visit our website and follow us on Instagram to experience the positivity. We invite you reflect on the things that make you feel most like you and make time to cultivate connection in your life. Collectively, we look forward with hope of brighter days ahead. For now, we pause to reflect on the joy and beauty around us and within us.
Photos courtesy of Seattle University.