August 3, 2020

Student Publication Spreads Positivity During Pandemic

Created by UMW students under the guidance of Writing Center Director Gwendolyn Hale, The Positivity Post spreads uplifting news and some much-needed cheer to the Mary Washington community. Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash.

Created by UMW students under the guidance of Writing Center Director Gwendolyn Hale, The Positivity Post spreads uplifting news and some much-needed cheer to the Mary Washington community. Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash.

Abruptly, in mid-March – as the coronavirus pandemic began its rampage – Cosette Veeder-Shave ’22 had to leave Mary Washington and return to her home in New York. She could no longer physically be with her professors or her classmates; she just saw tiny images of them on her computer screen as she continued her courses online.

Meanwhile, sickness and death surrounded her. “So many of my family and friends were in the hospital,” she said. “I felt so helpless.”

So, she turned – virtually, of course – to three of her fellow staffers at UMW’s Writing Center who also were experiencing anxiety and discouragement. One of them, Piper Giannini ’21, suggested they do something to “bring smiles to people’s faces, even if short-term.”

The Positivity Post was born. The first issue came out April 13, and it has faithfully landed in 100-plus subscribers’ inboxes each Monday since then. This weekly dose of glass-half-fullness is distributed as a Google document that lacks high-tech touches but brims with heartfelt material.

Each edition features an uplifting photograph, a day-brightening story (a recent one was about customizing creative face masks) and news from around Mary Washington in a section called “Kindred Eagles.” There’s at least one highlighted pet, a faculty profile and “POGOs,” described by The Positivity Post as “Positive Gossip – messages that members of the UMW community send [anonymously] to others to show appreciation or recognition.” Read more.

About Anna Billingsley

Anna B. Billingsley, associate vice president for university relations, has worked at UMW since 2004.