Residential Life at Albion has created a new event for students to participate in: Mitchell Towers’ first annual Black and White Photo Challenge. Because September is Suicide Prevention month, the theme of the photo challenge is called “Your Reason to Stay.”
“Mental health awareness and suicide prevention is something we as a department wanted to include in our programming,” said Hilary Clark, an area coordinator for Residential Life, via email. “Although we did not set out for this program to focus on Suicide Awareness, I am so glad that it has.”
The theme comes from Stay Wear, a clothing company that focuses on improving mental health by sharing positive messages through their clothing. Residential Life has Stay Wear’s mission statement in the rules for the photo challenge.
The company’s mission statement says:
“STAY is a state of mind. It’s about improving mental health. That includes finding your reason to stay, creating positive change for yourself, and creating positive change for others. If you’re struggling to find purpose in life or find peace, STAY. There are better days ahead. If you’re wanting to be a better you, STAY. Make some changes in your life that will improve your life. If you’re wanting to help other people, STAY. There are others that need to hear your story or need a friend for support.”
“I am extremely passionate about mental health awareness and am an Ambassador for STAY Wear,” said Clark. “ The day I was putting together the proposal for this program, STAY released a new collection called “Find Your Reason”, and as soon as I received that email, it just clicked in my head. I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Students will enter in the competition with photos exemplifying someone or something that is their motivation to get through each day and ultimately their reason to stay. Students can submit up to five photos.
“I want students to see the beauty in the little things, in the small moments, to take the time to see that their reason can be anything, it can be something so small it would be completely missed by anyone else,” said Clark. “Finding your reason to stay in this world could be completely different from the next person.”
Photos will be judged by faculty and staff, where they will pick twenty finalists. Residential Life will then decide placements and tie breaks. Names of students who participate will be removed during the entirety of the judging process.
The final 20 photos will be printed out and displayed in common areas around Mitchell Towers. Four of those 20 will be picked by Residential Life and be named the grand prize winners.
Those who submit more than one photo are eligible to have more than one in the final twenty and up to three displayed in Mitchell Towers. Even if more than one photo is selected to be in the final, they will only receive one of the grand prizes.
“We are still working out the details, but the prizes will be a Nintendo Switch Lite, including one game; Airpods; HydroFlask water bottle bundle; and a bluetooth speaker,” said Clark.
Posters advertising the challenge are posted around campus, particularly by Mitchell Towers. Albion students were also sent an email with the poster and rules attached. A QR code can be scanned from any poster for those looking for the rules and submission requirements.
“I’m a firm believer that art is everywhere. You don’t have to be good at photography or do it as a hobby to participate in this. Art happens when we least expect it, when we aren’t looking,” said Clark. “Those are the moments I want students to be able to capture, even if it’s by accident.”
All currently enrolled students are eligible to participate, including students who are studying off-campus. The deadline for the challenge is Oct. 2 at midnight, and photos should be emailed to Hilary Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.