Postcards for the fridge

Allison Pace with postcardsBy Douglas Esser
Students streaming into a classroom will often see someone holding open the door and say, “Thanks.”

You frequently exchange such common courtesies. Shouldn't you also say "thank you" to the people who opened doors of opportunity at the University of Washington Bothell or eased your way forward in life? Now's your chance.

Photo: Allison Pace shows the card she mailed to her grandparents. (Marc Studer photo)

 The Student Success Center recently launched a program called Powerful Postcards. It makes it easy for students to send a thank you note to a professor, staff member, high school counselor or even grandma.

postcard table with mailboxAllison Pace, above, a community psychology major (June ’18), noticed the display of postcards and a small mailbox on a table in the center hallway. She also works there as an assistant career services adviser.

“I just thought they looked fun. All you have to do is stop and fill it out and drop it in the little mailbox. I think I said, ‘Thank you for your support.’ I thought it would bring a smile to my grandparents,” Pace says.

It did.

“It instantly brought a smile to my face,” says Kris Pace. “It was a wonderful surprise that meant the world to us.“

Allison Pace with Bob and Kris PaceAllison is the oldest of six grandchildren for Kris and Bob Pace, shown at left at Allison's high school graduation. “They help me so much through college, with support and just being there for me,” says Allison.

Their address in Poulsbo was also the only one she knew off the top of her head, she admits with a laugh.

The postcard was powerful. 

“It was special for us,” Kris Pace says. “It’s amazing that something that small is really not that small.”

The postcards were designed by a center student employee, Mitchell Worthy, business marketing (December ’16). Most are whimsical. A yellow one with a drawing of bananas says, “You’ve helped me a bunch.” Another with a connect-the-dots image of a crow carries the message, “Thanks for helping me connect the dots to see the big picture.” 

There are powerful motivations beyond the fun, says Dorothy Baumgartner, center director. 
“We’ve been trying to think of ways to help students make connections about a community that supports them and their learning,” she says. “The power of reflection helps us make meaning out of the experiences we’re having.”

banana cardAnd, a sense of gratitude improves your well-being, Baumgartner adds.

For the receiver, it’s a “tangible artifact,” says Adriana Gonzalez, success center program coordinator. Your grandmother can’t put a text message on the fridge, she says.

apple cardThe postcard table went up toward the end of fall quarter and is maintained by Anna Jansen, the center’s conference coordinator. She says some students seem put off by the old media – postal not social? Or they don’t remember a physical address. Or they are skeptical the cards and postage are free. 

There’s no catch, but if you like, you might say thank you.