Dubbed "You Think You Know Me" and inspired by the MTV show "If You Really Knew Me," the event allowed students, staff and faculty the chance to open up and share experiences from their personal lives in a confidential setting, stepping out of the box and allowing each other a glimpse into the real person.
Spearheaded by senior Ashley Benter, from Mount Vernon, Iowa; junior Angela Crary, from Cedar Rapids; and senior Kristie Chisholm, from Osage, Iowa, and with the support of Mount Mercy's Director of Counseling Services Tricia Borelli and Coordinator of Recreation and Wellness Brenda Steinke, the event provided a platform for the three students to share their personal struggles with the group, and allowing their fellow students, faculty and staff an opportunity to share their challenges as well.
"It is beneficial to share your story with others," says Benter, "The event was created to help students and staff see there is so much more to people other than the student status or the job title." Benter shared with the campus community the struggles she went through in high school as she battled an eating disorder.
In addition to an open-mic session, the event included small group discussions and a break-out shuffle exercise, where participants were asked to walk across a gym floor-line if they have experienced a death in the family, an abusive home environment, have faced struggles with peer pressure, or a myriad of other challenges. The activity allowed those participating to obtain a deeper sense of community, as students, faculty and staff realized that there were many people who struggled with the same challenges they have.
"Some of my professors were at the event and now they know a little more about my life," says Crary. "It helps to know a little more about people, so we can connect."
"The event was very touching," says Assistant Professor of Chemistry Joe Nguyen. "It's very encouraging to know there is support out there that you would never realize."