ECU SHOES project highlights love and support ahead of Valentine's Day

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - A day before Valentine's Day, ECU hosted an event to remind every student that they're not alone.

The event, SHOES Project, set up shoes all along the campus walkways. The shoes represented stories from students - open letters about their struggles with depression, anxiety, trauma, relationships, and more.

400 pairs of shoes attached to stories lined the campus, to remind students of what others are going through every day. "It made me really emotional," said one ECU junior, Sunny Collins. "Just like I see these people every day and I don't really know like what they're going through."

"One of those stories really hit close, like I just felt bad," said Lisa Yan, another junior at ECU. "Somebody's like, 'do I go ahead and get my medication or do I pay for textbooks and supplies for class?'"

With Valentine's Day approaching, the holiday may also be a trigger for some. "Maybe an unhealthy relationship, or if they're really wanting to connect with somebody to date or in a romantic relationship and it's not going the way they want, yes, certainly that day heightens all of those emotions," said Valerie Kisler-van Reede, ECU's director for the Center for Counseling and Student Development.

This is the 5th year ECU has hosted the SHOES project on campus with many students saying it's an eye-opening and powerful experience.