GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – If you were walking on the East Carolina University campus on Wednesday, you would’ve seen nearly 400 pairs of shoes lining the walkways.
“As I read each shoe, it brought a sense of awareness to that everyone has an issue that we may not recognize or know about,” said Keziah Worsley, an ECU student.
The shoes all represent a real person with real struggles.
“I was really close to being one of these pairs of shoes as a kid, so getting to walk by and see all these people and read their stories, it really resonates with me,” said Sarah White, another ECU student.
As students reflect on what others are going through, they’re also taking some time to check up on themselves.
“Just walking past and seeing a big board telling you why you’re worthy of love, especially when you’re having a rough day,” White said. “I wrote on the board, ‘I am worthy of love because I made it this far.’ I’ve made it past the worst parts of my life, might as well keep going and see what’s in store.”
University leaders hope this awareness leaves a lasting impact.
“It reminds them of how they can also be a resource for their classmates and friends if they’re having struggles,” said ECU Director of Housing Operations, Aaron Lucier. “Or if the student is having struggles, they know there are resources and ECU cares and they can receive and deserve help.”
For some students, it’s events like this when they realize their university cares.
“A lot of times it can feel really isolating so to have an environment on campus where we’re so open and honest about this stuff, it can be a place of solace for someone and can be the reason someone keeps pushing forward,” White said.
“It makes me want to be kind to everybody and I think that’s what the world actually needs,” said Worsley.
ECU leaders said while this event is just one day out of the year, they have resources available 24/7. They have counselors as well as an mobile phone app where you can reach out for encouragement or just someone to talk to day or night.