SVSU Rocks spreads kindness with rock painting event

Freshman Kari Brown, fifth-year Elle Rabior, and sophomore Myles Losey paint rocks to hide on campus. Vanguard Photographer | Audrey Bergey

The SVSU RHA held an event encouraging students to express their creativity in a unique way.

The organization held an event called SVSU Rocks, where students painted rocks with various images and quotes. Then the rocks were hidden around campus to be found by other students

Health science senior Vivian Messerschmidt is the vice president of programming for RHA. She organized the event based on a group from her locality.

“The inspiration from this event came from [the group] 517 Rocks,” she said. “The area code from my hometown is 517, so they have a similar program to the one we are putting on.”

The 517 Rocks Facebook group has 9,400 members who paint, hide and find rocks around the area.

A similar local group called Saginaw Bay Rocks is also active on Facebook with 5,100 members.

Though a popular pastime now, painting rock for others to find was relatively unheard of until 2015. That year, Megan Murphy hid a painted rock at Cape Cod and her friend found it. This inspired her to keep painting rocks and eventually led her to start The Kindness Rocks Project. The project’s website says its purpose is “to cultivate connections within communities and lift others up through simple acts of kindness.”

Messerschmidt hopes that SVSU Rocks will help to connect students and encourage exploration in a similar way.

“I hope that students will gain a better sense of community here on campus,” she said. “I think that it’s a great way to encourage students to get outside and explore campus.”

Nursing senior and RHA president Emily Sanders agreed.

“Rock Painting and hiding will help build a community at SVSU,” she said. “Students might see a cool rock and share it with their friends or classmates. They can also go out and search for rocks with their friends or paint some rocks to destress. Maybe seeing a painted rock will make them smile during a hard week.”

Sanders said she enjoyed hosting the event and seeing new faces participate.

“SVSU Rocks was a fun event to put on,” she said. “I love seeing people who haven’t been to our programs before because it shows that RHA is able to provide a fun experience to a variety of students at SVSU.”

For the rest of the semester, Messerschmidt said RHA has several events planned to connect campus residents and commuters.

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