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WSU sponsors social media platform bringing kindness to Utah schools

By Ryan Aston - | Feb 16, 2024

Photo supplied, YouUplift

A representation of YouUplift's Kindness eWall software, which Weber State University is sponsoring for Utah's K-12 schools.

OGDEN — Social media use, and the potentially harmful impact it can make on young people, has been a hot-button issue in Utah. Last year, the state’s Legislature passed restrictions on how Utah minors access and use social media platforms. More recently, Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson released a joint statement condemning a Utah School Board member for harassing a high school student using social media.

While Cox and his administration are attempting to combat the pitfalls of social media legislatively, Weber State University is sponsoring a statewide initiative that seeks to spread positivity and kindness in Utah’s K-12 schools through a fledgling social media platform.

WSU is teaming up with YouUplift to offer “Kindness eWalls” to Utah schools, free of charge, for the entirety of 2024. The company’s software allows students, faculty and even parents and community members to post encouraging messages, which are then displayed on schools’ digital displays and/or online.

A recent message on the Kindness eWall for Ogden’s Uintah Elementary reads: “Ms. Craver is my daughter’s 4th grade teacher. She has mentioned to me on multiple occasions that SHE is her FAVORITE Teacher. Thank you for all you do.”

Its open availability notwithstanding, YouUplift touts the platform as being “100 percent privacy compliant,” with no logins or data collection.

“Weber State is known for connecting with students and supporting them throughout their education, and the Kindness eWall gives us a chance to promote that beyond our campus,” WSU news coordinator Rachel Badali told the Standard-Examiner via email.

Meanwhile, Doug Reavis — YouUplift’s CEO and co-founder — says WSU was among the first institutions to bring the platform to its state.

“Eastern Washington University did it in Washington, Northeastern State sponsored it in Oklahoma, and it went really, really well,” Reavis told the Standard-Examiner. “They both chose to sponsor it again this year. So, after that beta run, we started reaching out to colleges and universities all over the country, and Weber State was the first that wanted to do it for Utah.”

According to Reavis, the software boasts thousands of active users at schools around the country, and a recent uptick in usage necessitated a server upgrade. YouUplift’s website claims more than 605,000 monthly views on the service.

Badali noted that about 125 schools in Utah are using the Kindness eWall platform currently, with around 20 more working through an onboarding process. The platform remains open to all of the state’s K-12 schools.


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