By Sabrina Campbell, Staff Writer
The Health Education Outreach Office (HERO), the Student Health Center, the Center for Student Development, Campus Violence Prevention Coalition and UMF campus partners came together to support Love is LOUDER with a recent event called “Turn up the LOVE” in the North Dining Hall.
“Turn up the LOVE” was held to “turn up” the volume of the Love is LOUDER message. The event played music, had postcards for people to fill out their personal answer to: “Love is LOUDER than…”, had stations with papers on different information for people to take, a table for cookie decorating and drinks, a table to create origami hearts, free raffles to win T-shirts, and an open mic for people to express their personal experiences.
The Love is LOUDER movement was created by The Jed Foundation -, MTV and Brittany Snow. The movement supports anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone. A nurse at the UMF Health Center, and host of the recent event, Lisa Lisius, talked in depth about Love is LOUDER. “I first heard about the movement at the Maine College Health Association; we were there to present 150 ways of eating healthy for UMFs 150th year,” said Lisius. “UMF is a friendly place; Love is LOUDER can be used to make people aware of the kindness and support that is across the UMF campus.”
Mykala Montecalvo, UMF Sophomore, attended the recent event. “I heard about the event through posters in the Student Center and wanted to see what it was about,” said Montecalvo. Her favorite part of the event, she said, was filling out the “Love is LOUDER than…” postcards.
According to Lisius, the postcards will be displayed all over campus. “The Student Center, Library, FRC, Ed Center Lobby, Scott Hall, and Roberts for starters,” said Lisius. “There will still be opportunities for students to fill out their own ‘Love is LOUDER than…’ postcard too.”
The postcards were strung across the room and layed out on tables for people to look upon. “After reading the cards and making one of my own I walked around to different stations and talked to the people there and then they had open mic for people who wanted to talk about their life experiences,” said Montecalvo. “It took a lot of courage for people to stand up and speak and they are truly appreciated.”
Kristina Phomvongsa, UMF senior and health advocate for the Health Center, co-hosted the event with some other students. “I heard about the event before Christmas break from my boss and being there to help and support was super important,” said Phomvongsa. “We had posters and flyers about the event; sent out emails and even announced it during the basketball game.”
Despite the effort of announcements the outcome wasn’t what was expected. “We were hoping for more people,” said Phomvongsa. Even though there wasn’t a huge crowd, “The event was a good time. The people who talked during open mic were brave and strong. It’s important to raise awareness to support those that feel like they are in the dark and feel alone.”
“I really enjoyed being there and my overall thought was that the event was really empowering,” said Montecalvo. “People need to think about the people that love and care about them and that the hurt will always be there, but you are not alone, you have support.”
The Love is LOUDER message will be continuing all this semester. “Support to encourage and empower others to strengthen their abilities to cope with hard times, focus on the positive, support the people around us and reach out for help when we need it,” said Lisius. “It is a message of movement that continues to grow; Love is LOUDER.”