‘What’s your word?’



Kaitlyn Tambasco, Assistant News Editor

Where did all those painted rocks around campus come from?

Painted by members of the Utica College psychology-child life program, the rocks were painted at an ice cream social that was held on Sept. 12, which held as a meet-and-greet for psychology-child life majors, explained Professor of Practice Melissa Racioppa.

The rocks, primarily placed around Strebel Student Center, feature messages such as “Be Kind” and “Worthy.” While uplifting, the words painted on the rocks represent students’ personal mantras; they were chosen to inspire, motivate and empower those that painted them, as well as everyone walking past them.

In order to help the students think of different words to paint on the rocks, Racioppa visited myintent.org. It was an idea she had seen other places do.

“The purpose was for the students to think of a particular word that meant something to them,” Racioppa said. “Especially in the beginning of the semester when things might be overwhelming, but I hope the students thought of something that really was their mantra and by displaying it, giving the other students that idea.”

As of right now, Racioppa said she was not sure if something like this would happen again, but she hopes it is considered again in the future.

“It was the first time that something like this was done on campus, although I know other groups have inquired about it,” Racioppa said. “I worked with the facilities to make sure everything was going to be controlled and limited; we want to make a statement but don’t want to be in the way of anything else that has to be done, too.”

Adjunct Professor of Psychology Dave Roberts also attended the ice cream social and the rock painting event.

Roberts suggested that the program should do more events such as this because the Psychology-Child Life Department has the ability to encourage students to find their voice using creative and fun techniques.

“I also have a good percentage of psychology-child life majors in my classes, so it gives me an opportunity to become further acquainted and perhaps develop a stronger bond with them in the classroom setting,” Roberts said. “The rock painting plays into the creative strengths of our students, and together allowed them to communicate a message of inspiration and hope to the Utica College community.”

Within that, Roberts voiced high hopes for students both in the psychology-child life program, as well as in other majors..

“Our students are our future leaders,” Roberts said. “I am gratified that our college consistently offers opportunities for our students to develop their leadership skills by providing creative and constructive opportunities for growth.”

Senior Lara McNamara first applied to Utica College as a nursing major, and then switched to education. After doing that, she ended up in the psych-child life program and “falling in love with it.”

“This is the first time the program has done something like this,” McNamara said. “I actually really enjoyed it, and it was therapeutic.”

At the event, McNamara spoke with a lot of underclassmen as well as students who transferred in. McNamara had the ability to explain things such as fieldwork, class work and internships to some of the students.

McNamara also pointed out that there was a list provided of suggested words to paint on the rocks, or Google was an option. She also hopes that the program, or the entire campus, does more events like this to promote more positive energy.

“All the words were very positive, so I think if people saw them or actually read them it might have made their day a little bit better.” McNamara said. “It’s like if you smile at someone, you could make their day. Well, maybe seeing the rocks changed someone’s day.”