By McKena Miyashiro
It’s a bit depressing to open your mailbox and see nothing inside And it’s even more depressing when it’s hard to find the time or opportunities to make friends.
Freshman Katie Richmond, however, is hoping to change this.
During the third week of school, Richmond and her roommate realized they didn’t know many women on the first floor in their dorm. Richmond was inspired to created a pen-pals program she dubbed “Kenna Korrespondance” to help Kenna residents make new friends.
“Sometimes in freshman year, it’s hard to make friends and I want everyone to have one person they can talk to,” Richmond said. “I hope the friendships are lasting and I hope this program will allow people to know each other on a deeper, more meaningful level.”
Kenna Korrespondance participants are paired up with a someone with similar interests to them who lives on the opposite floor. The coordinators of the program sent out a questionnaire with different questions to help learn about everyone’s personality.
Sophomore Sara Coito, an English major and social justice minor, is helping Richmond launch the program. Both Richmond and Coito, who are part of Kenna’s Hall Council, are in the process of collecting surveys and matching up pen pals.
Currently, there are 65 participants in the program. The goal is to have everyone paired up by next week so they have time to send out cards in time for the holidays.
Richmond hopes the participants will talk about topics that fit their personalities, such as drawing pictures or asking how their pen pal’s day is going. The plan is to send each person their partner’s questionnaire along with a list of possible things to write in their letters.
Katie Doyle, Kenna’s assistant hall director, is excited about the project’s turnout.
“I feel like our job in the residence hall is to make this feel like a home environment for those that live here and part of feeling like that is feeling valued and feeling like you matter,” Doyle said. “Having something waiting in your mailbox can be a huge part of this. It's important to heighten the connection the residents have with this place.”
In addition to the 65 residents already in the program, there are some students studying abroad next semester who want to be a part of the program even when they leave Kenna Hall in the spring.
“I really like that added element of staying in touch with the community even though you’re not living here at the time,” Doyle said. “We have another resident who isn’t coming back to Kenna until next semester, and we’re helping her so she can also stay connected.”
Richmond said she is eager for the program to get started, and hopes lasting friendships are created.
“People are really excited about this and I’m excited too,” Richmond said. “What’s not to like about new friends?”