It gets better

University of New Brunswick students are trying to show the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community that even though it is hard now, it gets better.

Mostafa Shaker and several residents of Joy Kidd residence at UNB teamed up to create a video to show people that life gets easier, and to just hold on.

“Bullying is not going to stop 100 per cent, but what we can do is help the bullied cope. I think that is what the video is all about,” says Shaker.

Creating a message

Mostafa Shaker and several residents of Joy Kidd residence at UNB teamed up to create a video to show people that life gets easier, and to just hold on.

With almost 17,000 views on the It Gets Better UNB and STU video, the numbers have surpassed what Shaker anticipated.

“I never thought we would have 17,000 views – I mean, 5,000 or 6,000 but never would have anticipated this many.” He says. “By the end of the year it was 12,000 views and since then, even when we’re done school, and none of our target audience is really there, it’s gone up 4,000 views.”

As a part of the campaign, Shaker and other University of New Brunswick students are traveling to high schools around New Brunswick to talk about bullying and how to cope, and show their video.

Shaker also attends conferences within the province regarding bullying and how to help those being bullied cope.

“We basically sat down and did this strategic plan for the government to try and follow or try to use,” says Shaker. “Just youth recommendations to have there to help fix the problem.”

Overwhelming support

Shaker says he was overwhelmed by the amount of support received by UNB students and staff, and didn’t expect to have so many want to help.

“I just thought of the idea one day, and the next thing I know we have 16,000 views.” He says. “This video really showed just how awesome people are, and supportive.”

University of New Brunswick Fredericton recruitment office’s Kurtis Knappe knew the importance of the message and the office helped fund the campaign.

Using Twitter and Facebook, they also helped spread the word.

“I think it’s really important to show that it gets better,” says Knappe. “Also that it’s a welcoming community here at UNB and we have a lot of safe spaces here on campus.”

Shaker says his team is looking to start doing different causes each year to focus on the many rather than just one.

“There are so many non-profit organizations and no one really knows about them,” says Shaker. “We don’t want to just focus on thing, but one cause every year.”

With the support of the University of New Brunswick Student Union, St. Thomas University Student Union, and the UNB Fredericton Recruitment Office, Shaker and those involved were able to show students if they hold on things will get better.

“Someone on YouTube commented on the video earlier saying ‘I was just about to commit suicide and then I saw this. I think I am going to wait and see, thank you.’ It feels good to know we at least made a difference,” says Shaker.

Contributed by Bronté James, Communications and Marketing. This story made possible by the UNB Associated Alumni.

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