Student Encouraging “Right Words @ CIU”

January 13, 2021

By Bob Holmes

Amidst a pandemic, racial and political tension and disunity in our country, a Columbia International University freshman is heading a new initiative called “Right Words @ CIU,” an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to communicate written messages of appreciation, assurance and encouragement to one another.

Aynsley Vivian, an American who grew up in Australia, says when she landed in the United States last year, “the air felt very thick with tension.”

“I think at a Christian college there is a place for encouraging and building one another up despite what’s going on in the world around us,” Vivian said. “We’re to be light and to be different, and one of the ways to do that is with simple acts.”

The idea and name of the initiative began in Vivian’s mind during some personal struggles in her first semester. And that’s when she heard from her mother.

“She had exactly the right words to say,” Vivian explained. “I think there are moments when God can use the Spirit and give us the right words to say in that moment that really encourage someone.”

Vivian discussed the initiative in the Rossi Student Center where she has set up a white mailbox where the letters of encouragement are “mailed” and then delivered to the appropriate student mailbox or faculty/staff office. There are greeting cards and pens next to the mailbox to make the process simple.

Vivian says even in the age of the text message a hand-written note carries a lot of impact.

“Letter writing is such a simple thing, and I always love to receive letters in my mailbox,” Vivian said. “Sometimes it’s really nice to have a physical copy of the words when someone has encouraged you.”

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