Alum-designed app may brighten your day

Sasha Weilbaker, Contributing Writer

Complimenting your friends has never been easier, thanks to Brighten–an app created by Austin Kevitch ’14.

Brighten enables users to anonymously send compliments to their friends. Kevitch was inspired to create the app while studying abroad in South Africa, when one of his friends, Oliver, passed away in a rock climbing accident. After Oliver’s death, people posted positive messages on his Facebook wall, to which Kevitch thought, “why couldn’t his friends have written these things while he was still here to read them?”

To do this for others, he created Brighten, which was launched in the app store in December of 2013.

Student representatives from schools all over the country have been working to get more students involved in Brighten’s community. Two of the University’s own student representatives for Brighten elaborated upon the app’s emphasis of kindness among community members.

“I have received the most amazing, heart-warming compliments, and my day has gone from average to amazing,” Brooke Peterson ’17 said. “Brighten creates a community of positivity, where people can feel safe to express gratitude, make their friends laugh, or leave a sincere, heartfelt message to a friend. It helps to show all the people who feel unimportant and unappreciated how much they matter and how much they are loved.”

“The idea is to get as many people as involved as possible because then you can see the whole community being positive [towards] each other. The more people you know that join it, then the more brightens you can send and receive,” Christine Quinn ’17 said.

Quinn said she “truly” believes this app has achieved its goal of creating a positive environment.

“It’s going to take time to get a whole true change going, but it’s all dependent on people joining and really taking action in the positiveness,” Quinn said.

Student groups on campus, such as the women’s water polo team, have also encouraged one another to use Brighten.

“I think everyone has gotten a little more positive because of the app. It’s definitely doing its job!” team member Shyla Lintz ’18 said.

Professor of Psychology T. Joel Wade, who had Kevitch as a student, said that he believes part of Kevitch’s inspiration for creating the app was “seeing the harm done by other applications and programs that allow for or promote deindividualization to lead to negative behavior.”

In comparison to apps such as Yik Yak and Secret, where posting anonymously often has a negative impact on the community, Brighten promotes posting anonymously to spread positivity and kindness.

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