U-M undergrads issue challenge to thank your Michigan Medicine colleagues: 10 days, 1,000 notes of gratitude

March 31, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

For the past 13 months, thank you notes have poured in from around the world — all of them directed toward the faculty and staff who have stepped up in immeasurable ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the largest formal “thank you” campaign of all is set to get underway.

U-M undergraduates are aiming to compile at least 1,000 notes of gratitude by April 10 from fellow students, U-M employees (including those at Michigan Medicine) and outside community members. The initiative will culminate in a massive art installation at University Hospital, in which large letters will spell out the words “THANK YOU.” Each letter will be filled with balls that will include names and messages.

Recently, Headlines caught up with the four students behind the “Thank Blue” project to find out why they are doing it and how people can get involved.

Here’s what they had to say:

Q: Where did the idea of this project come from?

A: All four of us (Brendan Dolan, Omar Hassan, Grant Ho and Eric Lian) are in the PSYCH 223: Entrepreneurial Creativity class. We had an open-ended project with one parameter from our professor: Create something epic.

So we immediately thought of how we could make something to give back to the people that have helped carry us through this past year. As undergraduate students, we realized that nothing had been formally done to thank health care workers on behalf of the student body here at Michigan. Additionally, we noticed that many of the parades and events held to thank our health care workers had taken place last spring and summer, but had tapered off in the last few months.

We know that the heroes in the health care system are still working as hard as they were last year when the pandemic hit, and so we wanted to create something that would reiterate the feelings of gratitude that the Ann Arbor community has for them.

Click on the image for a text-only version.

Q: What has this experience been like for you so far? What has been the most satisfying aspect to this work?

A: This experience has been exciting! Knowing that we can put a smile on someone’s face or make someone’s day drives us. Our health care workers have done so much for our community and we feel that it is the least we can do to say ‘thank you.’

Our grand reveal for this project is April 15 and we cannot wait to put the community’s gratitude on display!

Q: Have you run into any challenges?

A: The most challenging part of this project so far has been getting people to send thank you notes! Saying ‘thank you’ takes less than 30 seconds on our website — as Eric Lian has made the process user friendly and easy. We hope everyone will take just a brief moment to send in their messages and make this project a success.

Q: What is your ultimate goal with this project?

A: Our ultimate goal is to put a smile on a health care worker’s face and show that we, as a community, have their back and will continue to support them. The pandemic has been waging for more than a year now and we hope our gratitude and THANK YOU will help rejuvenate faculty and staff.

Q: How can Michigan Medicine team members get involved?

A: Michigan Medicine team members can get involved simply by both spreading the word along with delivering a message of their own. We understand that colleagues would love the opportunity to write a message to their fellow employees who they have seen work so valiantly this past year.

Spreading the word also allows more people from the community to express their thanks toward front-line workers — and many of those people wouldn’t otherwise know how to get involved. So telling friends, family, etc. will go a long way toward reaching our goal of 1,000 messages!

Learn even more about the campaign to collect 1,000 notes of gratitude on the latest episode of The Wrap employee podcast. Two undergraduates behind the program shared details and their inspiration behind it. Check it out via the YouTube video at the top of the page.

To participate and have your message included in the display, use the link below! Additionally, the students will be highlighting individual health care workers on their social media page each week.

If you have a colleague that you would like to nominate for this special recognition, please click here.

Write a message: https://thank-blue.web.app/#thank-you