This semester, a group of four Montclair State University seniors are implementing skills acquired throughout their degree programs in order to help their peers.
Throughout their time in college, they noticed that a significant portion of fellow students struggled with a variety of personal issues, lacking the necessary resources to resolve them independently.
These issues are pervasive, ranging from mental health concerns to lack of food and shelter. It was evident to all four group members, prior to the fruition of their project, that too many students had no choice but to accept their struggles, resorting to suffering in silence.
Determined to help combat the alarmingly common phenomena, Cynthia Lucey, Stephen Lubas, Emily Loder and Mariah Acree decided to team up with a nonprofit organization known as NJ 2-1-1. Based in Morris County, this statewide 501(c)(3) organization connects New Jersey citizens of all ages to a wide variety of relief resources, free of charge, via their 24/7 phone, text and web referral services.
Although many college students could find significant aide through NJ 2-1-1’s free referral services, most of them are unaware that such an organization exists.
It is for this reason on Nov. 4, 2019, the four Montclair State seniors officially launched a pro bono trans-media campaign in partnership with NJ 2-1-1. Their goal is to ally New Jersey college students to NJ 2-1-1’s free referral services that connect them to resources vital in resolving their most relevant issues.
Lucey, one of the team members, expressed her opinion on the group’s campaign.
“We are really excited about this campaign and are sure that it will make a positive impact on fellow [New Jersey] college students by connecting them to the help they need,” Lucey said.
The main element of their pro bono trans-media project includes a participatory hashtag campaign on Instagram. Participants are asked to post a selfie featuring an issue relevant to the college demographic with the #nj211foreveryone hashtag.
Additionally, the project will assist NJ 2-1-1 in curating social media content and resources to be utilized in spreading awareness of their free services to the college demographic.
Melissa Acree, the executive director of NJ 2-1-1, had the following to say in regard to the trans-media campaign.
“We are delighted to have [Montclair State] communication seniors build awareness for our services among their fellow students,” Acree said. “This is an untapped population for NJ 2-1-1 that we know will benefit if they know where to go when they are in need of life’s most basic needs. The enthusiasm and genuine interest demonstrated by the [Montclair State] senior team is refreshing and much appreciated.”
To spread awareness and encourage participation in our campaign, the seniors held a photo-op event in the School of Communication Lobby on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019. Even so, they want the Montclair State student body to know that it’s not too late to get involved. For more information, students can check out the #nj211foreveryone on instagram, or refer to www.nj211.org.
“Remember, 2-1-1 is for everyone,” Acree said.