Project Gives Students a Place to Be Positive

Elana Burack, C’19, has created an “Affirmation Tree” for the community.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Affirmations—statements that reflect on personal values­—sustained Elana Burack, C’19, through her middle school years. As a senior at Penn, she wanted to make affirmations a public project in a community where students may, for example, flunk a math test and need an outlet to healthily remind themselves they’re also excellent siblings, friends, or caretakers.

Elana Burack, C'19

Photo Credit: Eric Sucar

Burack created the “Affirmation Tree,” a sculpture that travels campus, collecting affirmations written by members of the University community. The project is funded by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and Penn Wellness. Burack created the tree with sculptor Julia Magidson, a student in the College of Liberal & Professional Studies.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do it is Penn is just a very intense, fast-paced, and sometimes competitive environment, and I think we rarely pause and say something positive to ourselves,” says Burack, a religious studies major. “I wanted to give people a space to do that.”