By Jenna Kirby
Self-acceptance and care were both in the air on campus this past Monday, Sept. 21. “Mirrorless Monday,” an event created by senior chemistry major Kendall Lee Ciriaco, seeks to help people focus less on what they see in the mirror and embrace themselves for who they are on the inside.
Throughout campus on Monday, many of the buildings’ bathrooms had their mirrors blocked out, and in its place, paper with inspirational messages on it. The ultimate goal was to promote self-love throughout the campus community. Students were encouraged to write their own messages and post pictures on social media using the hashtag #tcnjMirrorlessMonday.
Ciriaco said the event was “Pinterest inspired” because she drew from the website for inspiration. She said that she saw Post-it Notes with positive messages on mirrors on different Pinterest boards. She decided to put a twist on it and block out mirrors completely so they could be covered in positive messages.
Ciriaco, a community advisor on campus for Wolfe seven, was originally initiating the program to help the freshmen on her floor. She spoke about it to her residence director, Marvin Carter, who suggested she expand on her idea because of the positive effects that it could have on others in the community. He encouraged her to think outside the box. Ciriaco wanted to block mirrors out and instead have positive messages on them to take attention away from people only focusing on their physical appearance.
Following advice from Carter, she reached out and made it a part of the Residential Education Freshman Year Experience. She also reached out to numerous organizations on campus that pride themselves in promoting messages of positivity like hers. The event became co-sponsored by Chi Upsilon Sigma, the Health & Wellness Center, TCNJ Muslim Students Association and Circle of Compassion.
Ciriaco said the goal was “to promote self acceptance no matter size or race (and to) promote self care on campus.”
To do this throughout campus, she got permission from people in charge of different buildings to put paper over the mirrors in the bathroom. From there, she wrote positive messages on these mirrors and left markers so everyone could do the same. All the freshmen residence halls, the library, Eickhoff Hall and the Business Building had every mirror covered in each bathroom.
Many students on campus enjoyed the event and what it promoted. It reached out to many students, especially freshmen.
“I think the event is really cute. I like that the mirrors are covered with paper because everyone has been writing such sweet messages to each other on the paper,” freshman chemistry major Sabrina James said. “I know that some people really don’t like what they see in the mirror, so it was really nice to see things like ‘you are beautiful’ written all over the paper.”
“Mirrorless Monday” intends to have people start out the week the right way by promoting self-love and self-care no matter gender, race or sexuality. It aims to show that people are a lot more than their looks. Around campus, people seemed to love the message it promoted. People who spent time in the library or in the Business Building that day were especially affected by it.
“It’s a good idea because by blocking the mirrors you are literally forcing people to look beyond their physical qualities,” junior accounting major JoAnna DiCicco said. “By attempting to look in the mirror and instead seeing inspiring quotes, it’s just a really uplifting feeling and the worries about self image fade for that moment.”
While Ciriaco is graduating this year, she hopes that someone will continue her event for the coming years. She hopes that the event will grow and expand as the years go on and that self-acceptance and positivity will be spread throughout the campus.