Student spreads love with anonymous notes

Junior Sanjana Murthy said she is trying to cheer up classmates during these rough times

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Student spreads love with anonymous notes

Junior Sanjana Murthy has started leaving kind notes around campus to promote love.

Junior Sanjana Murthy has started leaving kind notes around campus to promote love.

Junior Sanjana Murthy has started leaving kind notes around campus to promote love.

Junior Sanjana Murthy has started leaving kind notes around campus to promote love.

Sidney Dutcher, Staff Writer

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Can you make a stranger’s day without ever speaking to him or her?

That is the goal of Cal High junior Sanjana Murthy, who has made it her personal mission to change the campus culture for the better.

Murthy has begun leaving handwritten letters of encouragement around campus for strangers to find. The goal of the notes is to leave the recipient with a smile.

“Almost everyone you meet has to deal with a personal battle on a day to day basis,” Murthy said, “and in a social-media- consumed world, my aim was to help others with an anonymous, personal, handwritten message of encouragement, no questions asked.”

She was inspired by TED talk speaker and depression survivor Hannah Brencher, who created the global organization “The World Needs More Love Letters.” Brecher began the practice of leaving kind letters for strangers around New York City after discovering that writing the letters helped her conquer her own depression.

Junior Maya Morris, who befriended Murthy after she moved here last year, finds this sense of altruism not unusual

“It doesn’t surprise me that Sanjana would do something like this,” Morris said. “She’s a pretty selfless person.”

Murthy said she’s just trying to help, especially in light or recent events.

“With the results of the presidential election and the hateful graffiti on campus, there are many students who justifiably feel attacked,” Murthy said.  “When I saw the TED talk, I felt I had found part of a solution to these issues.  I think a personal, handwritten letter can really help someone feel like they are a part of the community.”

“I know that one letter will not solve everyone’s problems, but my goal is to help others realize that everything will be  OK,” she continued. “I want to give a Cal student a moment where they feel uplifted, just in case they haven’t for a while.”

Junior Max Fallejo was not surprised when he heard about Murthy’s endeavor to encourage others.

“I went through a rough patch last year and she basically got me through those tough times by giving me extremely motivational speeches,” Fallejo said. “She was there for me when no one else was.”

Murthy has also delved into different ventures that work to help others.

She is the founder of the Justice Project, which is a club that helps sexual assault victims. The ultimate goal of the Justice Project is to raise at least $1,000 for Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN), the national network for sexual assault victims,

Murthy started this club not only to raise awareness to the millions of Americans affected by sexual abuse but also to try to help these victims.

In addition to these projects, Murthy also volunteers at a private practice psychology office for Dr. Shannon Tran.  She works as an assistant, helping to start up an online summit for Dr. Tran.

Murthy began this volunteer work to help her in her journey toward being a psychiatrist.

“I want to [become a psychiatrist to] help others by giving them an outlet to express themselves, and to feel heard,” she said.

Junior Haley Jensen finds Murthy’s positivity admirable.

“Sanjana is a go-getter,” Jensen said. “She can do anything she puts her mind to and enjoys the challenge of doing something new.”

Murthy’s list of charitable works and accomplishments is truly impressive, but at the end of the day, she finds that simple letter writing is the most direct form of helping others.

“It may seem like an impactless note at first,” said Murthy. “However, if these letters can give someone the sense of encouragement that hey need at that point in their lives, it has made all the difference in the world.

“I hope that with my small addition to their day, the recipient of the letters is encouraged to find strength within themselves to continue fighting their battle.”