By Jada Butler
Assistant News Editor
The Be The Change club is brand-new this school year. It’s dedicated to spreading positivity on campus and to making it a kind and loving community to help students thrive emotionally. It is the mission of the club to create a safe and judgement-free space for everyone to be themselves and feel accepted, while also making lifelong friends in the process.
Adam Silverstein, a freshman social work major as well as president and founder of Be The Change, first began the club during his senior year at Northport High School. He was inspired by Challenge Day, a national organization based in California that tours schools across the U.S. to promote students to be empathetic, and to understand the values of love, compassion, kindness and understanding. Northport hosted an annual Challenge Day workshop with a series of bonding exercises to open the students’ eyes to each other’s lives.
“Challenge Day helped me to overcome a lot of negative feelings,” Silverstein said, reflecting his first encounter with the event in his sophomore year. “It also revealed my passion to help people.” Silverstein became a team leader for the activities in his junior year of high school.
In his senior year, Silverstein wanted to create an organization that kept the mission’s ongoing impact alive. The motto of Challenge Day is a saying by Mohandas Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” which inspired Silverstein to name his new club Be The Change.
“It was such a passion [that] I brought it to Post,” Silverstein said. Since the start of the fall semester, the Be The Change club has gathered 15 to 20 members and has introduced several activities and events to LIU Post, including their Positivity Bake Sale, at which they sold treats along with cards depicting positive messages; All-Inclusive Valentine’s Day, when they handed out free candied hearts, chocolates and valentine notes during common hour in Hillwood Commons; and March “You Are Noticed” alienation awareness day, when students and faculty gathered in the Lecture Hall and shared personal stories dealing with the topic and sharing support. During the week of April 10, the club hosted, “Be The Change Week,” four days of spreading their mission statement to bring positivity to as many people as possible.
Monday, April 10, was “Love Yourself Day.” Be The Change partnered with the Hispanic Association club for a smile-themed bake sale in Hillwood during common hour. All proceeds went to Operation Smile, a charity that benefits children undergoing cleft lip surgery. Later that day, the club gathered in the Endzone to explore self-love.
Tuesday, April 11, was “Show Some Love Day.” The club hosted a mixer event in the Fish Bowl that evening at which they numbered tables and assigned everyone to random seating. This encouraged students to form new connections with each other. Students were able to let loose and bond through games and icebreaker activities. “We find things that help us relate to one another,” Amanda Jean-Louis, a sophomore vocal performance major and member of Be The Change, said.
Wednesday, April 12, was “Express Yourself Day.” Be The Change partnered with SNAPPS, the student poetry society on campus, to host an open mic night in the End Zone. Students shared their talents, ranging from vocal impersonations to singing and poetry. Silverstein instructed the audience in the “Art of Sass” as portrayed by Spongebob Squarepants.
“No one judges anything you say or do and it’s amazing,” Erin Gorden, a sophomore forensic science major, said.
Thursday, April 13, was “Live Life to the Fullest Day.” Be The Change seized the day by teaming up with PAGES, a gaming club at Post, to expose members to the adventurous world of dungeons and dragons. Students embraced fantasy character identities and stepped out of their comfort zones as they acted out a story using nothing but their creativity and imagination.
“All the activities we do bring us together as a family,” Matt Goldstein, a junior criminal justice major and co-secretary of Be The Change, said. The club members are proud of the diversity of thought and personality within their ranks. “It’s helped me make some amazing friends,” Silverstein said. “I feel connected, like I’m part of something great.”
The club hosted its first annual end of semester bash on Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Endzone. The “Be the Change Experience” was a smaller scale version of a Challenge Day workshop. Students went through a series of presentations, games and exercises which taught students how to open up to each other, be good listeners, and be better people overall.
Silverstein is looking forward to the 2017-2018 school year, when he will be both an R.A. and an Orientation Leader. “As I move through my years, I’m hoping to recruit some underclassmen to take over,” he said.