Campus StoryFest Winner: What’s Up Danger

With many universities moving online, loneliness on college campuses has become its own public health crisis. A spring 2019 survey from the American College Health Association revealed that the majority of college students struggle with their mental health: nearly 66% of college students said they felt very lonely at some point over the past twelve months, 71% felt very sad, and 66% felt overwhelming anxiety. That was before the pandemic, and it’s likely much worse now.

These feelings can have serious consequences that impact students’ health as well as their academic performance. In the same American College Health Association survey, 27% of students reported that feelings of anxiety had caused them to achieve a lower grade on an exam or in a class, while 20% of students said that feelings of depression were the cause of worse academic performance.

To address loneliness on college campuses, the Foundation for Art & Healing expanded its Campus UnLonely initiative by launching Storyfest late in 2019. StoryFest, a short-term creative expression competition, invites undergraduate students to create and share short videos about their experiences. By offering a forum for sharing these short two-minute videos, students are able to reflect on campus life through a specialized art form that communicates their experiences and feelings.

StoryFest’s inaugural launch in 2019 focused on the theme of “Difference and Belonging.” After reviewing submissions, the Foundation for Art & Healing is excited to announce the winning film of the 2019 StoryFest:

Congratulations to Faith Lowhorn on her StoryFest winning film, What’s Up Danger.

What’s Up Danger is a film that follows one second of every day during a month in 2016. As we see snippets from Faith’s days, we also hear her voiceover, speaking two years later, about her experience recovering from cancer. We hear her thoughts looking through a more innocent time in her life.

Faith’s story is poignant and personal. “Most want to control every aspect in life,” Faith said about her film. “When something as unpredictable as cancer takes hold, I want[ed] to show that staying positive will pave a path through any darkness.”

Feeling alone and different while struggling with health concerns is a story to which a lot of college students can relate, especially in light of current circumstances. Many students are facing unforeseen challenges right now, and short films like What’s Up Danger are exactly the kind of creative expression we are proud to elevate to help others decompress their distress.

Faith, a current student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, has big plans for the future. Her artistic passions have led her to illustration, a field she hopes to go into professionally once she graduates.

Given the urgency of loneliness across college campuses in 2020, the Foundation for Art & Healing is growing its college and university partnerships to implement more Campus UnLonely programming, such as StoryFest, in order to reach the young adults that need it the most. To learn more about our range of programs for campuses, please contact [email protected].

The Foundation for Art & Healing