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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Stony Brook Students Reveal Their Secrets

“People think I’m a very happy person, but I’m sad almost all the time… my confidence is fake.” “I leave the duet on the piano in case you want to sing together.” “I’ve alienated myself from my family because I thought they would reject me once they found out that I’m gay.  I’m scared that they might easily accept me because that means I did all that for nothing.”

These are just some of the 482 secrets students anonymously shared through postcards hung up in the Tabler Arts Center Gallery last week, as part of Stony Brook Secrets, an event started by Ed Arzomand, a junior double majoring in applied mathematics and statistics and business.  Throughout the week, 710 people filtered through the gallery to view the secrets.

This was not the first time Arzomand hosted this event, which was based off of Frank Warren’s PostSecret.  PostSecret is a blog updated weekly with secrets mailed in anonymously on decorated postcards.

“I did this same project when I was a resident assistant in Wagner College last year, and after I did it, I got a lot of good feedback from people who attended the event.  At the start of this year, I actually had some people come up to me and ask me if I was going to do it again because they really enjoyed it,” he said in an email.

The actual event took about a month, with three weeks designated for students to write down their secrets on postcards and to decorate them as well.  The Craft Center allowed students wanting to decorate their postcards to do so during the center’s open Craft Night.  Yang Hall Council turned decorating postcards into their own event, “Cleanse Your Soul, Cleanse Your Body,” which encouraged residents to make their secrets while promoting good hygiene.  Students were able to drop off their secrets at the USG Office, Residential Quad Offices and the Craft Center.

There was no limit on what students could do.

“There are no real requirements.  Students are able to submit whatever they can fit into the drop box, really.  I wanted to encourage complete creativity so if they can make it and fit it into a drop box, its good,” Arzomand said.

The gallery, which the Fine Arts Organization helped set up, opened the week of March 21, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.  The walls were decorated with secrets set up in designs.  Some hung down from the ceiling in the middle of the room, while others were put on tables.

Arzomand received support from different organizations on campus.  The Center for Prevention and Outreach assisted him in approaching the event in a delicate manner since some secrets shared included suicide, abuse and assault.  The Student Health Advisory Committee, Chill and Choice provided their assistance as well.  Brochures, including CPO, Counseling and Psychological Services, The Trevor Project and The Safe Space Program, were laid out on the table for everyone to grab.

Music played in the background as visitors walked around the room reading the secrets of unknown students.  Some were humorous, while others had a more serious tone.  Students seemed to take to the secrets, finding some relevant to their own lives.

“I love the set up,” said Laura Wu, a junior biology major.  “I like the whole ambiance in this room.  It’s really nice.  I think it’s like a good way to just not feel alone on this campus because I feel like I’m relating to a lot of these secrets.”

Valeriya Bagmut, a junior history major, enjoyed reading the secrets, finding them sad, funny and interesting.  “I really like it.  It’s very vibrant and it’s just appealing.  I’m a big fan of PostSecret in general,” Bagmut said.

“I would love to see this program done again, hopefully with Frank Warren,” Arzomand said.  “I plan on studying abroad in Florence next semester, but I would definitely like to do it for my third and final time as a senior next spring.”

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