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‘SLU Jars’ Inspire During Last Week of Classes

A duo’s final project put a lot of smiles on the faces of St. Lawrence students during their last week of classes.

SLU Jars

Seniors Chelsea Priebe and Paige Pasquini recently installed “SLU Jars," a final project for Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Peter Nelson’s Photography II course. They placed 24 jars in various places around campus including trees, the Owen D. Young Library, the fitness center, the student center and the Enchanted Forest. The instructions surrounding the jars were simple: “Take something and leave something. Take what you find inside and leave something for the next person.”

“Our hope with the jars was that we would encourage anonymous gift-giving and random acts of kindness, but we were unsure of how people would respond to the project,” Pasquini said. “We didn’t know if the student body would be as excited as we were.”

Students were intrigued from the moment the jars first appeared on Sunday, April 28. The response has been overwhelming.

“I’ve been moved multiple times after hearing the nice things that people are saying and doing,” Pasquini said. “The best part was that we somehow were able to reach all groups of students on campus as well as faculty and staff.” 

Pasquini has heard about all types of items being left in the jars such as drawings, quotes, dares, money, games, glitter pens, flowers, origami, sage leaves, stickers, stamps, gift certificates, wire wraps, beaded necklaces, gum, candy, friendship bracelets, tea and words of encouragement. There are stories of items going from jar to jar, jars filling up with items because students were more concerned with the giving than the taking, and even special invitations to upcoming events.

One of Pasquini’s favorite stories came from a student who said it meant a lot to find a jar filled with good things because it was the anniversary of a close friend’s passing.

“People were so proud to tell me the personal things that they had contributed to the jars and the really heartfelt, sincere items that people wanted to share with others,” Pasquini noted. “This shows me that people were happy to participate and wanted to contribute personal belongings that meant a lot to them and would hopefully mean a lot to others.”

The project was inspired by a note they found in a jar they came across while climbing a tree in Burlington a few weeks ago. “Do not let yourself be defined by other people’s opinion of you.”

“It made our day and made us think about public space, community and spreading love in small ways,” Pasquini said. “My mother had told me that with everything happening in the world right now, the jars might have been a small way to bring a little fun and lightheartedness to St. Lawrence. I think she was right.”

Posted: May 3, 2013

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