Sun Devil helped shape ASU’s Hearts of Gold campaign

October 22, 2021
“Hearts of Gold recognizes the people behind the sacrifices and their heroic efforts to emerge from the crisis even more hopeful and optimistic for our future than before.” 

We all have a Hearts of Gold story, and all Sun Devils have the opportunity to participate in the universitywide campaign to commemorate community members who have made sacrifices and shown resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grace Hershey, a sophomore studying sociology, found herself not only in a position to get involved in the Hearts of Gold campaign but also to help create it. 

As the administrative assistant for ASU Marketing Hub’s Senior Marketing Director Steven Harper, Hershey was able to provide insight for the campaign from a student’s perspective.

Grace Hershey, sophomore studying sociology and Sun Devil who helped shape ASU’s Hearts of Gold campaign.

Hershey, being a first-year student during ASU’s year of remote learning, had firsthand experience of what it was like to be a student in the midst of the pandemic. Losing a full year of the in-person college experience was something she, along with many other students, had to sacrifice, she said.  

With her experience in mind, Hershey leapt at the opportunity to help create Hearts of Gold. Hershey worked to develop a slide deck that was presented to various staff members during the campaign's approval process; she helped organize digital design assets, which included details on merchandise and signage that would be handed out in support of the campaign; she attended meetings with her supervisor, Harper, and provided student input when needed.

According to Hershey, the idea for the campaign is to share stories of Sun Devils’ experiences during the pandemic. 

“Hearts of Gold was meant to validate the struggles that students, faculty and everybody in the ASU community went through and continues to go through because of COVID-19. And to acknowledge that instead of moving onto campus as if nothing happened,” Hershey said. 

The inspiration for the campaign came from COVID-19 tributes that had been done by cities around the world.

“In Minnesota, city officials put up gold hearts at the City Hall at a nearby shopping center for each resident who had died from COVID-19,” Hershey said. 

“The city kind of used this as a memorial wall for residents to share tributes to loved ones,” Hershey said. 

When the tribute done in Minnesota was shared in a presentation to ASU professional staff, they agreed that using a gold heart in messaging would fit in well with ASU’s branding as ASU’s school colors already include gold, Hershey said. 

“From there, it just kind of took off,” Hershey said. 

Gold hearts were put up around campus. They were painted on the football field, put on windows and displayed on signage and social media. They can be found on the sleeves of the shirts that first-year students wore to Sun Devil Welcome. Sun Devils can even find Hearts of Gold on ASU’s Youtube channel.

“To me, Hearts of Gold is something I take pride in, something that made me feel more comfortable coming back to campus. It definitely means a lot to me, just because it's so amazing to be able to see the physical aspects and the impact of the work you've done,” Hershey said. 

“I worked so hard on it, and it's like all around campus and hopefully going to be all around campus for years to come,” Hershey said. 

ASU community members can participate in Hearts of Gold by sharing their COVID-19 stories. 

More information can be found on the ASU Hearts of Gold website.

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