A student-initiated social media campaign, “Mask Up TCU,” is encouraging students and the Fort Worth community to wear their masks.
The effort is led by Madelyn Hicks, a junior strategic communication and theater double major, and Hannah Divic, a senior combined science major. Both students are resident assistants in Milton Daniel Hall and Marion and P.E. Clark Halls, respectively.
The Instagram account @maskuptcu made its first post on Aug. 25 and gained over 400 followers within its first week.
The account features 50 resident assistants alongside faculty and staff members, including Chancellor Victor Boschini and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Safety Adrian Andrews. The posts show people wearing masks while holding a whiteboard with the hashtag “#Iwearmymaskbecause,” along with a personal statement on why each individual wears a mask.
Hicks said the campaign was created to overcome skepticism and shaming felt by students from impersonal emails and signs by adding an element of social pressure and a purpose behind this semester’s new safety policies.
“If there’s more understanding, people are more likely to follow the rules,” Hicks said.
The campaign was created to extend an opportunity to students to express their own “why.”
“Wearing your mask is about loving people,” she said. “Like loving my grandmother who is immunocompromised, my best friend, or my neighbor who I just don’t want to get COVID-19.”
Hicks and Divic see the campaign growing bigger and moving beyond Instagram. The plan is to create a Facebook page to reach parents and then open participation to the entire campus community.
Over the next few weeks, “Mask Up TCU” will invite students and faculty from across campus to sign up for a designated time slot to take their picture with the whiteboard and share their own stories. People will be able to sign up for a slot through a SignUpGenius link which will be sent in an email from a member of the initiative.
“We will reach out to more students, professors and hall directors to make it open to everybody. If more stories can be told, that’s the goal,” said Hicks.