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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Class performs acts of kindness lifting spirits during pandemic

In+efforts+to+spread+joy+during+the+COVID-19+pandemic%2C+Lily+Kren+choreographed+a+dance+to+the+song+%26%238220%3BBe+OK%26%238221%3B+by+Ingrid+Michaelson+and+posted+a+video+of+it+on+her+Instagram+page.
By Graphic by Hannah Thompson
In efforts to spread joy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lily Kren choreographed a dance to the song “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson and posted a video of it on her Instagram page.

In an effort to bring forth rays of positivity to those overwhelmed and impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, students found a way to spread joy to others through the creative freedom of a class assignment.
The assignment is known as “Spread Joy Not Coronavirus” and was created by Department of Communication Studies senior lecturer Michael Burns for his honors re-humanizing communication course. Students in the course were asked to find ways to spread joy to others during this time as well as write a reflection paper on their experience.
Burns said the course critically examines the impact of technology on human relationships as well as the way society interacts with one another. He said for the majority of the course, students are trying to discover ways to do things without technology in an effort to focus on characteristics that are uniquely human.
Ironically for this assignment, Burns said he encouraged his students to use technology to simulate human engagement during this time of social distancing.
“I was inspired by things I saw on TV, especially starting in Italy and Spain with those people singing on their balconies or applauding the health care workers,” Burns said. “I was following their stories and thought there might be a way for us to do that as well.”
Lily Kren, musical theater junior, choreographed a dance to “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson. Kren posted a video of the dance on her Instagram page @lilyhelenkren. She said she chose that song because it reflects the feelings currently going on in the world.
Through this assignment, Kren said she wanted to create something that made others happy as well as connected those going through a hard time.
“When I see someone doing something they love I’m automatically uplifted in spirit,” Kren said. “Maybe people that watch [the dance] can see the joy in me and they can express that same joy.”
For six of her friends graduating from high school, Melissa Copeland, history sophomore, said she hosted a virtual prom for them via Zoom as their actual prom was canceled to abide by social distancing orders.
“(Prom) is supposed to be a nice moment to bring everyone together and have fun with friends,” Copeland said. “I think it’s a nice exclamation point end to four years of high school.”
Copeland said she and her friends dressed up and spent time cooking and eating dinner during the virtual prom. At her own senior prom, Copeland said she and her friends had more fun eating dinner and conversing rather than the actual dance part which is why she wanted to incorporate that aspect into the virtual prom.
While some students quickly came up with an idea for their assignment, others waited for an “aha!” moment to realize what they wanted to do for their project. Harrison Webster, communication studies sophomore, was getting ready for a run when he noticed his neighbor building a fence.
Although Webster had no experience building a fence, he asked his neighbor if he could be of any assistance. At first, Webster said his neighbor was a bit hesitant to give him the job because he would not be able to pay him for his labor. However, Webster insisted he would help him for free.
“In a time like this, most of our neighbors are struggling and everyone is going through crazy times in one-way shape or form,” Webster said. “It was really nice to kinda sit back and work and not think about all the crazy things that were happening.”
Burns said he wanted to ensure the assignments for his class gave students an opportunity to reflect on their current situation while simultaneously being flexible with his students’ schedules. He said it was important for him to create this assignment to show his students that it does not take much to make a positive impact on somebody.
“We’re just being bombarded with so many scary stories right now and we’re in a context that’s so stress-heavy and any kind of moment when you can smile, laugh or feel positive is important right now for all of us,” Burns said.

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  • Melissa Copeland hosted a virtual prom for her high school friends whose prom had been cancelled due to COVID-19. Attendees sat and ate together during the Zoom call.

  • In efforts to spread joy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lily Kren choreographed a dance to the song “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson and posted a video of it on her Instagram page.

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