As students and faculty uneasily settled into their quarantine routines in March, creativity seemed elusive. School of Art + Design faculty Lis Charman and Lo Moran knew their graphic design students in the “Friendtorship” program were going to need more than Zoom lectures to stay productive and feel connected with each other.
Knowing that one of the best ways to reduce anxiety and nurture resilience is to help others, Charman and Moran structured their Spring Friendtorship class with assignments intended to activate students’ empathy, compassion and acceptance, both for themselves and for each other.
The professors asked the students to identify personal self-care goals they wanted to work on while quarantining at home, such as getting more sleep, connecting with loved ones, exercising and even flossing daily—activities that could help them feel more grounded. Next, each student partnered up with someone else in the class, creating posters to encourage each other as they worked to establish their new habits. Together, they came up with creative “mutual aid routines” they could use to support each other as they pursued their self-care goals.
Students rose to the challenge, creating heartfelt, poetic visual messages, reminding each other they (and we) are not alone, and we can get through this together.