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Student Facebook page captures world’s attention

A Facebook page that lets Queen’s students anonymously compliment one another is capturing media attention around the world. Queens U Compliments, which currently boasts more than 4,850 ‘friends,’ invites users to write positive comments to one another in a bid to combat bullying and build a supportive student community.

The story has been picked up by a number of international publications, including Time Magazine, the U.K’s Daily Mail, News Track India, the Zimbabwe Star, and China National News. The media attention has spawned similar Facebook pages at nearly 100 other schools across North America.

The students behind the initiative have been surprised by its popularity.

“It really just took off on its own,” says Jessica Jonker (Music/Con Ed ’14). “We never imagined it would get as big as it is now.”

Ms Jonker started Queens U Compliments with her roommates, Rachel Albi (History/Con Ed ’14), Erica Gagne (Music ’14) and Amanda Smurthwaite (English/Con Ed ’14). Feeling discouraged by chilly fall breezes and an increasingly heavy workload in September, they decided they needed a positive project they could run out of their living room. Inspired by a similar initiative at a high school, the foursome started the Facebook page.

“While it’s common to equate anonymity with negativity and cyber bullying on social media, we wanted to encourage the Queen’s community to share kind words for one another,” says Ms Albi . “The site’s popularity exemplifies the kind of peer support in place on campus.”

The students, who admit Facebook is their favourite website for procrastinating as they prepare for exams, say that so far they’ve received lots of positive feedback on the site.

They’re currently worried about how quickly they are approaching the 5,000-friend cap imposed by the social networking site and want to ensure that if they grow the project, they are able to maintain anonymity.

For now, they’re focused on keeping everyone in the Queen’s community feeling complimentary.