On a positive note: SU student brings joy to campus through art of leaving inspirational sticky notes

Luke Rafferty | Asst. Photo Editor

Allie Caren, a junior newspaper and online journalism major and a staff writer at The Daily Orange, is the founder of a formerly anonymous project called SU Stickies. Caren hangs sticky notes with inspirational quotes from various figures all across campus in order to brighten up student life.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the name of the Rutgers University project that is similar to SU Stickies was misstated. The Rutgers project is called RU PostIts. The Daily Orange regrets this error. 

One Syracuse University student has made it her goal to spread a little cheer across campus.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

She has taken the advice to heart.

The newest social experiment on campus, SU Stickies, is more than a spinoff of the original project at Rutgers — RU PostIts. On March 25, the person behind the project set out to tag the campus with quotes in order to “inspire you; we want to brighten your day, make you think and make you smile,” according to the Facebook page.

“Sitting on Facebook is so easy, you don’t even have to leave your apartment or your dorm room. A sticky note is something tangible, people can see it in a bathroom stall, take it home with them, put it on their wall and see it every day they wake up and smile. That’s why I trek all across campus posting 40-60 notes a day. I want to make a difference in those I touch,” said Allie Caren, creator of SU Stickies, a junior newspaper and online journalism major and staff writer at The Daily Orange.

But why sticky notes?

“A Post-it note is such a menial thing — you could write a grocery list on it, your homework assignments, whatever — it’s such a cheap, easy way to spread happiness and a smile,” she said.

Unlike SU Hookups and SU Douchebags — two Facebook pages that encouraged students to brag about their weekend conquests and speak poorly about their peers, respectively — this one is more positive and has been steadily growing.

Leo Wong, a junior advertising major, said he has stumbled upon numerous stickies in the oddest places.

“I’ve found some in the bathroom while doing my business, on the ceiling of an elevator as I randomly decided to gaze up, and on a bench in Newhouse as I sat down,” he said. “As odd as it may sound, they come at the right times. Right when I am tired, worn-out or stressed, I see an SU Sticky nearby.”

Wong said that although it is a simple piece of paper, it can help people realize that “everything they do is worth it.”

Caren said she likes making the notes anonymous for a reason.

“Something like this, you want to stay anonymous for as long as you can because you want to keep the mysticism behind it,” said. “Once people know who I am, I think it’ll diminish it a bit.”

Just because she’s usually anonymous doesn’t mean her personality doesn’t show through. She pulls from a myriad of sources for her quotes, including Ernest Hemingway, J.R.R. Tolkien and Coco Chanel, to match every student’s personality.

It allows her to exhibit her own sense of humor and wit through her choice of individual quotes.

Once she has chosen a quote, she finds a random spot on campus and leaves the note there to find its perfect match. She said she believes the sticky will find the right person at exactly the right time.

“Here at SU Stickies, we strongly believe in fate. We don’t think every person will find their sticky, but every sticky will find their person. It’s kind of like Harry Potter and the wands — the sticky chooses the person,” she said.

Finding stickies has become an adventure for students. Some say it parallels leveling up in a video game.

Anthony Torres, an undeclared freshman in the College Arts and Sciences, said he was excited to look for the notes after he saw the Facebook page.

“When I saw my first two when I was leaving Newhouse I, I felt accomplished,” he said. “It’s like I finally found an Easter egg in a video game.”

Recently, SU Stickies has garnered attention from beyond the Hill. Rochette R. Withers, part owner of the local company Stik-WithIt PrintWorks, donated thousands of sticky notes for the cause in the early days of the page’s existence.

The movement is young, though, and many students still don’t know what it is.

“I have never heard of SU Stickies, but the idea sounds great and I really hope I find one soon,” said Kevin Xu, a freshman electrical engineering student.

The stickies can be found all around campus, from the Hall of Languages to S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and along Marshall Street.

A copycat has been posting fake stickies in Newhouse elevators. Sarah Roche, a master’s student in Newhouse, said it’s impressive that someone else has started posting notes because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

“The fake one posted near the Newhouse elevator made me laugh. It is great that this is being seen by enough people to have an imitator,” Roche said.

Those involved with SU Stickies encourage students to post pictures and comments of the notes they see around campus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The photos are added to the “When Our Stickies Become Yours” album.

The group wants to get students involved because the movement is about them. It creates a sense of community and allows people to feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Caren acknowledges the whole thing sounds corny, but said she just wants to “see the campus smile.”


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