LOGAN, Utah — "You had me at hello" is taking on new meaning at Utah State University where the school is kicking off a Say Hello campaign to connect and welcome students.
2020 was a year that made isolation and social distancing problematic for students struggling to feel connected with campus life.
But now that vaccines are rolling out and students are trying to experience a new normal, USU wants to bridge the gap that the virus created.
Saying hello can quickly lift a person's spirits and brighten a person's mood, says the initiative, and so the campaign is encouraging students to participate in the movement and establish relationships with their peers.
“It’s easy to get lost in the sea of students at a college campus and even more easy to be lost behind a mask,” said Mariela Luster, a marketing student at USU who came up with the Say Hello idea. “When one is struggling with mental health there are many resources offered . . . but I started thinking, what if there was something we could do now? What if there was a simple call to action?
USU will be hosting a Hello Walk on April 12 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., on the sidewalk north of the Quad. The Hello Walk is a long-held USU tradition, but this year it will also be used to jump-start the campaign.
“One day I decided I was going to make the effort to stay off my phone whenever I was around other people,” Luster said. “. . . I started noticing other people and simply saying hello. I wanted to make others feel recognized, and I was actually the one who felt better and more included.”
Ways the campaign wants students to connect include putting down the phone, making eye contact, remembering a person's name, and of course, saying hello.