In an era defined by social distancing, economic anxiety and constant uncertainty, it can be difficult to escape the near constant stream of grim headlines. But for a team of three Cornell students, there’s still plenty of room for positivity.
Run by Rebecca Fu ’21, Jing Wen Soh ’23 and Megan Yin ’22, Spread the Love, a weekly student-run newsletter, aims to raise Cornellians’ spirits by counterbalancing bad news.
“Every time we go on a media channel, there’s a lot of bad news and negative headlines,” Fu said. “So we just wanted to make sure that people knew there was hope out there, and give people a sense of hope for the future.”
Each week, the newsletter shares a variety of uplifting content, including recipes, productivity tips for online education, fitness videos and positive stories, all intended to make quarantine just a bit more bearable.
“I talk to people currently in quarantine to get to know what their day is like and what their concerns about quarantine are,” Soh said, adding that the newsletter aims to build “a community” around its weekly production.
The newsletter includes a “shout-out section” featuring fellow students’ recent projects, such as a pair who developed a system to help organize students’ Zoom schedules. It also includes a page for subscribers to submit activities that they do in quarantine to be featured in the newsletter.
Spread the Love began as an in-person project a few months ago, when the trio set up a table in Mann Library asking students to share something positive about their week. Encouraging reactions from passersby affirmed to the team that spreading optimism was a cause they wanted to take up.
“When we asked students to write down one thing they were looking forward to each week, they would stop for a moment and have to think about it before I write something down,” Soh said.
According to Yin, that mission of spreading hope is more important now than ever. In a pandemic, she said, having a sense of measured optimism is critical.
“People don’t really talk about how far we’re progressing with the virus and how hard researchers and doctors and other essential workers are working,” Yin said. “We want to really bring light to that.”
In keeping with that goal, Spread the Love encourages readers to make the most of the present situation and take advantage of potential upsides.
“Being in quarantine is a really great opportunity for students to kind of pursue pocket projects or side projects,” Fu said.
As it looks toward the future, Spread the Love hopes to grow, diversify its content and continue to inspire positivity.
“Definitely sign up,” Yin said. “We’re very proud of this project, and we want to get more people involved in it.”