Rough day? Take (a) note

By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend

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The weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester are notoriously rough for almost everyone on a college campus. Professors kick it into high gear to cover remaining material before final exams. Students scramble to stay on top of their work and study for finals. Staff and administrators work feverishly to plan for the start of the new semester that will follow break.

Penn State Behrend’s School of Science Ambassadors are no strangers to the tense atmosphere in those few weeks, so they decided to toss a little sodium hydride into the water with a bunch of eye-catching colorful sticky notes plastered on the glass walls in the breezeway between the Otto Behrend building and the Science Complex.

“At our first Science Ambassadors meeting this year, we discussed doing something fun to brighten up the science buildings,” said Lauren Barmore, a senior Biology major, who helped spearhead the project. “There was a group of four of us who put the wall up the Friday before Thanksgiving break. We wanted it to be a surprise for the students when they returned.”

The students who wrote the initial notes—Barmore, Taylor Romania, Briona Bargerstock, and Jacob Kessler—penned notes that reflect the material taught in the School of Science.

“We wanted to put our own spin on it,” Barmore said. “A lot of our professors put jokes and memes into their learning materials, so we were sort of influenced by them.”

The messages on the notes range from inspirational to encouraging to laugh-out-loud funny. Most contain math or science references guaranteed to make readers chuckle:

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Or groan:

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Or, if they are non-science majors, scratch their heads.:

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A similar display of sticky notes can be found in the stairwell in the Reed Union Building. That project began several years ago and continues. thanks to the college’s Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) club.

It’s a popular campus feature and one that Barmore has used.

“I always loved taking notes from the RAK stairwell and giving them to my friends before exams or if they were having a rough day, or needed a laugh,” she said. “I’ve found that the smallest acts of empathy or service can have a big effect on people. We wanted to bring some of that color and joy to our side of campus.”

The notes are meant to be shared and to multiply: A container of sticky notes and pens hangs in the middle of the display, inviting anyone to share a note or joke or drawing. Take what you need. Leave what you want to say.

“We hope people enjoy reading them as much as we did writing them,” Barmore said.

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