In 2013, discussions about a potential anti-bullying initiative began within Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Arts. As ideas circulated for events and activities, important questions were raised: How can we make our campus a safer and more respectful place? How can an initiative change people’s interactions with each other? What social factors support a culture of bullying or anti-bullying? How can we engage students, faculty and the broader community? From these questions, an initiative was born.
From the initial brainstorming another key figure emerged: Frank. Frank is an elephant and just like bullying Frank is the elephant in the room. For an anti-bullying initiative to impact change it needs to draw attention to the serious nature of bullying – it needs to be frank. Beyond raising awareness the idea of connection and sharing of stories developed. Personal stories about someone who has been bullied, has witnessed an act of bullying or even participated in one… these are what really change hearts and minds. From this realization the Who’s Frank initiative hosted it’s first event – a write-in at Mount Royal University.
The write-in, much like the sit-ins of the 1960s, was about social change. With the campus’ Main Street filled with pink balloons, passersby were engaged and asked to write any story they wanted to anonymously share. The outcome was amazing and the power of narrative was confirmed. As students, staff and faculty on campus came together to share their stories, a means for broader community involvement was in the works. Beginning in February 2014, a herd of “Frank Banks” – containers for stories – will be sent to participating institutions and into the broader community. Through Frank Banks, the elephants in the room, more people gain awareness about bullying have a chance to share their stories.
Who’s Frank is an initiative determined to change hearts and minds through the power of stories and inspire action against bullying. It’s time to be frank about bullying and work to stop it. Who’s Frank? We all need to be.