Today's Student Organization Neighborhood guest editorial comes courtesy of SPILL. The Student Organization Neighborhood is a biweekly column dedicated to giving a voice to student groups across campus.
Every day brings new feelings, moods, surprises, weather, homework, friends, enemies, music, sickness—you name it, life throws out both expected and unexpected events. The new student organization SPILL (Supporting Peers in Laid-back Listening) has kicked off its first official semester. SPILL is unique in its anonymity and one-response format. SPILL promotes self-advocacy, each person can vent about any life stressor that comes up. I often think back to my freshman year at UW and remember feeling overwhelmed about many things, which student organizations should I join? How many hours should I study? What should I major in? Where should I live next year? This never-ending dialogue definitely could have used some anonymous feedback.
SPILL could be described as ""the ultimate best friend."" The UW student facilitators are always there, always ready to listen, and always promising a prompt response. SPILL was created by UW students for others because the benefits of peer-to-peer support suppress stressors. The volunteer facilitators filed past struggles inventories to ensure the level of feedback given will match the level of feedback required for each specific inquiry. The ""spiller"" will be given feedback as well as resources that could be helpful to them if they so choose. For example, UHS Counseling and Consultation services or GUTS could be given out as references for a student overwhelmed by the stresses of school work.
Writing out your feelings can be really helpful. It is a small step in the many that lead to recovery for individuals seeking support systems. It takes great strength to reach out and send in a spill, but there are over 350 facilitators who have been trained and are ready to respond and offer a listening ear. It should be noted however that SPILL is not an emergency service. To ensure the safety of the spiller, any spills containing threats of self-harm will be referred to an appropriate emergency responder (e.g., campus police, the 911 system) for crisis intervention.
Anonymous feedback is SPILL's forte! SPILL's mission has slowly spread around campus, but in case you have not heard, our goal is to be a safe-haven for students afraid of talking with someone face-to-face, struggling with issues late at night or students that simply doesn't have the time available to meet with anyone. We strive to create an overall network of relatability and consolation among UW students and to provide multiple perspectives.
Students who have spilled are given the opportunity to comment on their experience and the quality of the responses. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!
Non-judgmental listening may seem non-existent to some, but ""the ultimate best friend"" that is SPILL does exist and is ready for use! Remember, a lot of times you are not alone, you are just not connected. For more information on SPILL, please check out the website at http://studentspill.com.
Jessica Scheunemann is the vice president of administration and communications for SPILL. If you have any questions or would like to get involved with SPILL, contact the organization at email@example.com.