Beginning in April, two University of Connecticut students created an internet platform that seeks to help students’ mental health through sharing uplifting messages and videos, according to Jamison Cote, a fifth-semester digital media and design student and cofounder of the Refreshr campaign.
Cote said that in order for students to participate in the Refreshr campaign, they must fill out a Google Form that asks for key details, such as the student’s name, grade level, email address and a fun fact.
“When we match you with another student, that student will be able to send a personalized video. They’ll include the other person’s name, email address and they may address the fun fact,” Cote said. “We are just trying to, basically, encourage students to send positive videos and to remind each other that they’re not alone in this pandemic and this stressful time.”
“We are just trying to, basically, encourage students to send positive videos and to remind each other that they’re not alone in this pandemic and this stressful time.”
Cote said that he and his cofounder, fifth-semester finance major Alex Kim, originally got the idea for this campaign from an entrepreneurial journey class last spring.
“The reason why we started this is because we realize that the fall of 2020, and possibly beyond, is not going to be the same for many college students due to the fact that it has gone remote,” Cote said. “And also, the protocols—such as social distancing, mask-wearing, quarantining—all that plays a factor in our college life being totally different from what it was before.”
Cote said that because of all these changes, he felt this campaign was important to help the mental health of students—especially since the changes affected his own mental health.
“I know personally that I’ve come to really love the campus life at UConn, and the fact that I’m not on campus really affects my mental health. So, I know it definitely affects other people’s mental health as well, and we are hoping that this campaign connects students together, even though they are not on-campus,” Cote said.
Cote said that the campaign is looking to include the UConn musical communities in the campaign this semester.
“Right now, it’s just the UConn Jazz Club, but I’m going to reach out to all the UConn music communities and other artistic students to try to host some virtual concert or virtual showcase,” Cote said.
According to Cote, Refreshr already has 29 participants, and the campaign’s future goal is to expand participation by reaching out to other universities across the country.
“We are hoping to reach out to other universities nationwide because we realize that it’s not just students in Connecticut that are dealing with issues, it’s all students throughout the nation,” Cote said. “And it’s not just the pandemic. It’s also the racial tension and the political discourse going on that’s adding to everything.”
Students should visit the Campaign’s Instagram page, @refreshrcampaign, for more information, as well as inspirational quotes, mental health advice and more, according to Cote.