Indiana Daily Student

‘A touch of realness’: IU club combats pandemic loneliness through handwritten letters

<p>A student writes a letter Monday afternoon. Campus Cursive at IU is an organization that writes letters to people to combat loneliness. </p>

A student writes a letter Monday afternoon. Campus Cursive at IU is an organization that writes letters to people to combat loneliness.

Newly-founded Campus Cursive at IU aims to connect students through handwritten letters and combat loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, club founder and sophomore Aryan Mishra said.

The club was approved by IU last month. Its first letter-writing events will start in March, he said.

Mishra said the club’s letter-writing activities may include writing anonymous letters of encouragement and dropping them off around campus and writing to hospitals and nursing homes. He said the club will also accept letter referral requests from people who know someone going through a tough time.

Mishra’s idea to found a Campus Cursive chapter, a college chapter of the international organization More Love Letters, came from his instructor Rebecca Butorac during his freshman year. He said he felt uplifted when Butorac showed his class MLL founder Hannah Brencher’s TED talk about handwriting letters to strangers going through difficult times.

“Now people don’t write letters, and to get that many handwritten letters from strangers telling you everything’s going to be okay, that’s a meaningful thing,” Mishra said. “I guess it just has a touch of realness to it – like it’s more personal.”

Mishra said Campus Cursive at IU is about encouraging those who receive the letters to be kind to others.

“The idea is that it would motivate the person that receives the letter to do the same thing for someone else,” he said. “A random person finds that letter and it kind of sets off a chain reaction.”

Butorac, who is the faculty adviser for the club, said more than 30 people signed up for the club within its first week, including IU students and Bloomington residents. She said people’s interest in the club is exciting, but also shows their pressing need for social connection and emotional outlets.

“It’s just necessary,” she said. “And it feels urgent, almost.”

Butorac said her passion for handwriting letters started with a New Year’s resolution to engage and check in more with her friends. She said easily-accessible social media and email messages disappear in threads and inboxes, so she challenged herself to frequently send handwritten postcards to people she knows.

[Related: OPINION: Please check in with your quieter friends, they probably need it]

“With social media and all that stuff, we post a lot of good things,” she said. “But we don’t really share, like, ‘Hey, I’m feeling really bad, and I can really use a pick-me-up.’”

She said writing letters is also an easy way of self-expression.

“I think sometimes people are nervous about expressing emotion,” she said. “It seems like it’s a positive for both the person writing it and the person getting it.”

IU freshman Lucinda Larnach is a prospective member of Campus Cursive at IU and started leaving handwriting notes for strangers in high school. She said she has since found many pen pals, and talking with them through letters has helped her value small things in life.

“I think it really opens your mind up to a lot of different things,” she said. “And it makes you realize things about your life that you take for granted.”

Larnach said she struggled with sadness during high school, and after reading about positive thinking and self-affirmation she decided to share messages of positivity with other people.

“This world is kind of brutal sometimes – I’ll make it a better place,” she said.

Like what you're reading?

Get more award-winning content delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our Daily Rundown.

Signup today!
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student