COD students bring positivity to campus


Reanna Comiso, F

Like many, Carly Huegelmann, an English professor at the College of Dupage (COD), noticed the depressing nature of modern-day news channels. From school shootings to inner-city violence, Huegelmann was one of the many begging to hear something positive on the daily news. What sets her apart from others was her ability to realize that she had the power to turn the negativity into something better.

For the past three years, she has given her classes a chance to engage positively with COD students in an effort to bring positivity to their day. On May 2, her English classes partook in what she calls a “compassion project.” Her classes took time to pass out jolly ranchers, positive messages and friendly smiles to people in the hall. The project was not taken for a grade but for the good of humanity.

“Living near Chicago, it feels like we only ever hear bad news,” said Teja Johnson, COD student and a member of Huegelmann’s class. “We wanted to make people smile, so if [their] day was icky, here is some good news.”

The students of Huegelmann’s class were given the task of browsing the Good News Network, a news source that only publishes “good news,” and choosing headlines that were positive and fun. The headlines were printed out and handed to students in the hall in hopes to brighten their day.

The class also set up a cup-pong game where students and faculty could take a few moments out of their day to channel their inner kid. Winners were awarded with lemonade and even more candy and positive messages.

“It was meant to be something positive with no agenda with nothing behind it, but just to remember that the world is good,” said Huegelmann.

She noted that the change in how the news is portrayed plays a big role in the negativity seen in today’s society.

“The bad news was not in your face all the time,” said Huegelmann. “There were wars and tragedy, and we knew about it. The only thing that changed is the access of information.

To Huegelmann, allowing students to take some of the negativity off of their shoulders is something she tries to emphasize. She wants her students to know there are good things surrounding them.

“[The goal was] an adjustment of awareness of perspective.” said Huegelmann. “It is not all gloom and doom.”

While her class may seem ordinary from the outside, she is able to put a spin on her instruction. Huegelmann strives to engage students in and out of the classroom to form positive experiences.

Being partnered with Field Studies, she is able to take her classes on hikes and partake in things like the compassion project to instill some inspiration, while giving students something to look forward to and grow from.