Stony Brook Compliments has been known to spread love, happiness and acceptance throughout campus since it first launched as a well-liked Facebook page. On Wednesday, May 1 during Campus Life Time, it again went out to show the student body how important it is through “Hands Across Campus” and “Leave Love SBU.”
Stony Brook Compliments founder Daniel Ahmadizadeh, a junior business major, decided to organize “Hands Across Campus” after a student posted an old black-and-white picture of Stony Brook students holding hands and creating a chain around campus.
Ahmadizadeh was inspired by the overwhelming positive reception of the photo and decided to hold the same event on the 15th anniversary of Diversity Day.
He also wanted it to hold a special purpose to the campus, so it became a response to President Samuel Stanley’s e-mail in support of the immigration reform.
“As an immigrant,” said Ahmadizadeh, who is Iranian but was born in France, “that e-mail really resonated with me.”
Despite competition for turnouts with Stony Brook’s annual Strawberry Fest and other events happening that same day, the event started out with about 10 participants, including Stony Brook’s mascot, Wolfie, meeting at the Academic Mall. They held hands and walked across campus, encouraging the startled and curious Strawberry Fest-goers to hold hands and support diversity and the immigration reform.
The line ended with 20 people forming a large circle around the fountain in the Academic Mall, including a few passers-by. Ahmadizadeh went on to talk about the importance of diversity and acceptance, especially in a diverse campus such as Stony Brook, where many of the students are either exchange students or from first-generation immigrant families.
Freshman Adrienne Esposito, a business major, didn’t even know that “Hands Across Campus,” but joined in anyway.
“I think it’s a great message, honestly,” she said.
Freshman biomedical engineering major Abdoullah Kabbaj was one of the few who specifically came for the event. Kabbaj is an international student from Morocco and “appreciate[s] the diversity” that Stony Brook has and the message “Hands Across Campus” is promoting.
“I feel like a part of the campus,” he said.
Biochemistry and economics major Garima Yadav, also a freshman, attended “Hands Across Campus” in traditional Indian clothing. She described the event as “a good way to promote the cause of just accepting everyone and knowing the different cultures around [Stony Brook].”
“I wish a lot more people joined in,” she said. “A lot more people should be aware of how diverse this campus is.”
Despite competing with strawberries and various performances, Ahmadizadeh was satisfied with the participation in “Hands Across Campus.”
“I think that [the message] was incredibly strong,” he said.
Meanwhile, inside the Frank Melville Jr. Library, senior psychology major Claire Morrison was encouraging students to write positive and inspiring messages on pieces of paper with bright colored Sharpies.
“Leave Love SBU” was born from Morrison’s experience studying in the Humanities building, where she noticed the students looked sad and tired during most days. So when no one was around, she would write inspiring quotes and messages on the whiteboard for other students to find.
Soon enough, people began to respond with their own messages. She used to post pictures of her messages, post them on Instagram with the caption saying, “Leaving more love in the Humanities Lounge.”
When she posted some of these pictures on the Stony Brook Compliments Facebook page. Ahmadizadeh contacted her saying, “Would you believe me if I tell you that I thought of doing something like this?”
“Leave Love SBU’s” purpose is to spread love and inspiration.
“Be inspired. Be inspiring,” was one of the quotes Morrison left for other students to find.
“It’s in the spirit of SBU Compliments to kind of spread love,” she said. “To leave love.”
And that is exactly what they did.