Students Selling Stickers (SSS) is a student-run organization that advocates for pressing issues by selling their hand-drawn stickers. Co-founded by Johns Hopkins University alumna Kylie Ning and New York University senior Grace Xiang, the organization was formed in the midst of the pandemic.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Xiang explained that as the pandemic worsened, she wanted to raise awareness for minorities affected by COVID-19.
“It was just the four of us [on the team] for the first year wasting money and trying things,” she said. “In our junior year, we were like, ‘We probably should bring more hands on deck.’”
SSS now has five members regularly running the organization, and five others helping on a volunteer basis. Xiang acknowledged that most of their work is completed remotely and that she is grateful members are driven.
As the organization expanded, it continued to address various concurrent issues such as racism towards Asians, overworking of U.S. Postal Service workers in Arkansas and LGBTQ+ rights.
In an interview with The News-Letter, sticker artist Taylor Harris, a senior at Rhodes College, shared her love for stickers as a versatile medium able to carry a feeling. She explained that the organization’s messages can be communicated in everyday life by simply having a sticker on a water bottle or a computer.
“It's nice to be able to use our stickers as an outlet to express what I'm feeling,” she said. “It's nice to feel like you can make something that has an impact in some way.”
In an interview with The News-Letter, University of Washington alumna Heidi Tandiono described the behind-the-scenes element of the organization. She noted that her position as a sticker artist provides her with both an artistic outlet and a method of supporting a greater community.
Tandiono further commented that she enjoys being able to throw out different ideas with each other to create collaborative designs and finished products.
In an interview with The News-Letter, Ning said that moving forward, SSS aspires to find a way to donate more regularly through participating in in-person events.
“We just started doing in-person events this year, so they've been very important in terms of getting a lot of sales,” Ning said. “We've reached out to other members that are in other states about potentially selling at their schools to raise more money.”
Ning says that in-person selling has become increasingly significant for the group’s source of income, especially because the organization’s online traffic isn’t as much as it was in the beginning. She explained that volunteers are vital to help with setting up and running sticker sales.
The organization is preparing for events in Baltimore, hoping to increase sales during the semester. As SSS has grown in its impact and organizational size, members are excited to incorporate their group into the community by welcoming others interested in volunteering for the non-profit.
The board members also noted that selling in person is a rewarding experience because they feel immersed in the cause. Ning said that she feels connected to the greater community during in-person sales, commenting that this connection is difficult to feel online.
Ning hopes that bringing on volunteers from the University’s student body will not only help spur the growth of their organization but also provide the volunteers with a variety of experiences to immerse themselves within the Baltimore community.
According to Ning, meeting others who share the same passion for community education and awareness is one of the biggest gratifications for SSS.
“We want other artists, people that have their own nonprofits or know about other local causes to come up to us. We would love to partner with them as well,” she said.