Dear World showcases heart-felt messages



Students share hopes, fears and dreams

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 22, 2016) — Billed as a unique “storytelling experience and portrait shoot” – a cross between art project and social expression – Dear World gave some 300 Kennesaw State students, faculty and staff the opportunity to network and share some of their thoughts and feelings with the campus community.

A constant parade of people filed through the University Rooms in the Carmichael Student Center last week to take part in the activity that has attracted more than 50,000 around the world.

The mission of the New Orleans-based, nonprofit Dear World is to “travel the world to hear the stories and take portraits that unite people through pictures in their distinct message-on-skin style.”

Many KSU participants bared their arms and legs for volunteers to write messages on them in erasable black ink, while others opted to use their hands and necks.

KSU’s Division of Student Affairs, under the leadership of the Office of Student Advocacy, undertook the task of mounting the event during the “Week of Welcome” as a way of helping the KSU community connect.

“This is another way to let students know where to take their concerns regarding campus civility, student welfare, and other impediments to student success that may compromise a culture of belonging,” said Nicole Phillips, associate director of Student Advocacy, who helped organize the event.

“A lot of the messages they’re showing are important to them and others, and they’re things that people can easily identify with,” Phillips said.

“It’s their personal narrative,” she explained. “In some cases how their childhood experiences shaped their stories they’ve never shared with anyone in their whole life.”

Some of the messages were funny, some were sad and still others were deep and extremely personal.

girlPsychology student Chandler Griffin (above) volunteered with the event and helped write the messages.

“I’m so amazed with everything they’re doing,” said the senior from Dacula. “It’s so cool hearing other people’s stories and why their message is so important to them, what it means. It’s bigger than yourself.

Griffin, who plays on the KSU softball team, also posed for a portrait in her batting helmet with the words “You’re not your failures” written on her face, reflecting her attitude toward athletic competition.   

KSU’s Student Advocacy’s office will post the Dear World photos on their Facebook site by the end of August.

Click here for a photo gallery from the event.

Link to More Information:
KSU’s Student Advocacy’s office

By Robert S. Godlewski

Photos: David Caselli and Lauren Lopez de Azua


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit