It has been easy to allow seeds of doubt and hopelessness to take root in our minds throughout this past year. Masks still cover smiling faces, and 6-foot invisible shields keep us away from our friends and family. As anxiety and fear continue to grow rapidly, what can we do as members of our community to overcome the surrounding negativity with positivity?

If there is one piece of wisdom that we can learn from the losses we have all experienced, it is that the small things in life truly matter. Being stripped of a normal education, relationships with friends and family, and all of the other things in our lives that we typically take for granted has all given us a new perspective. With this wisdom in mind, it is important to remember that each and every one of us has the power to truly enact positive change. To successfully do this, we must first ask ourselves one important question: What kind of seeds are we planting in our community?

Growth of Positivity

As a student body of motivated individuals, we can focus on planting seeds of positivity in this difficult time in our nation. This can be done by uplifting our peers and celebrating their achievements; thanking those who are sacrificing their time, energy, and lives to keep us safe; and acting as role models for those who need someone to look up to. These are just a few examples of endless possibilities when it comes to spreading positivity in your community.

Our student government association recently adopted a project where we wrote thank-you cards to our front-line heroes and distributed these letters to workers and staff who sacrifice their time and lives for our well-being every single day. This project was so successful and overwhelmingly well received that other schools were inspired to celebrate their own front-line heroes in their community.

How did news of our project spread so quickly? Social media is a catalyst for distributing information. It allows the seeds we plant to sprout rapidly, significantly enhancing the positive influence that one person can have on the lives of others. We have this magnificent tool at our disposal, but we must know how to correctly apply its qualities to maximize the growth social media can have on our little seeds.

Who Will Shine the Brightest Light?

The one thing we must keep in mind when using social media is distinguishing who we want to reach. Do we want to reach community members? Students? Faculty? We determine our audience by distinguishing who will shine the brightest light on our seeds—the brighter the light, the faster our seeds will sprout. It is important to understand the effect of different social media platforms. These individual platforms will all reach a different population of people; your approach must be based on the project at hand.

Rooted in Efficiency

The popularity of social media in today’s society has grown rapidly, therefore allowing news to be received quickly and, most of all, efficiently. We want to spread good soil, because the seed will only grow if the soil allows.

  • Twitter: By using this app, we can connect with groups and organizations similar to ours. Our projects and activities have been noticed by other local and national student government groups, and they help motivate other schools to partake in similar projects.
  • Instagram: This app allows us to connect more directly with association members. With this platform, we can post major events or upcoming meetings and important dates.
  • Facebook: This platform is accessible for the parents and adults in our community to notice our hard work. We have the ability to reach out to any community members who may need our help.
  • Snapchat: This is a more modern app that is common with the student body. We can use this to reach out and gain participation from various students and inspire them to become involved.

Sharing positivity through these platforms allows for fertile soil. We chose to use social media to make this change as soon as possible.

Grounding Roots

Our culture enjoys the consistency of service projects and fundraisers, as well as the variations of new ideas and innovating change. Our organization engages students with a powderpuff football game. We also help our community by doing annual food drives, writing pen pal letters, reading books, and creating fun activities for elementary school students. By being consistent throughout the years, we can get more people involved and have others share their experiences because they were a part of these activities. With consistency comes variation. We have added new projects to branch out to more people and provide variety. We have recently finished a project called Foster a Warrior, where we packed bags for foster children in need. By sharing our experiences, we are grounding roots with efficient progress.

The Planter’s Hands

During this pandemic, we must strive to keep positive minds. We practiced this positive way of viewing situations by implementing a new theme for our student government organization this year: “Do what you can.” We work around the negatives that result from the pandemic and the losses we cannot regain to focus on what can be achieved. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. With the opportunities we now have to share our stories and promote positivity, we can fulfill our projects and inspire others. The rapid spread of these seeds ultimately brings us together and enables us to makes changes that will grow our association membership. Each and every hand helps us make the progress that is needed. Shine your light today and sustain positive mindsets through social media. —

Bailey McLaughlin is a senior at Elizabeth Forward High School in Elizabeth, PA, and the current student government association secretary at her school. Laci Schwirian is a junior at Elizabeth Forward High School and serves as the student government association historian.