Friday, March 1, 2013

Student Behind Rutgers' Post-It Notes Comes Clean

The Post-it notes have been showing up around the Rutgers University campus for months. 

On doors. On computers. On buses. On library shelves. 

Each sticky note contains an inspiring quote — like "Be as happy as a bird with a French fry" — and a website address.

For two semesters, the identity of the prolific poster, who went by RU Post-it Anonymous, was a mystery. But over the last few weeks, sophomore Dan Munoz has been revealing himself as the phantom purveyor of quotes. 

"At the beginning, I liked the idea of being anonymous," Munoz, 20, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "It hasn't been as anonymous lately. I guess that's inevitable."

Munoz said he began looking for inspiring quotes and writing them on sticky notes as part of an acting class assignment during his freshman year. After seeing how people reacted to finding his notes on dining hall tables, classroom doors and bus windows, the soft-spoken student began to leave more and more notes in every corner of Rutgers' sprawling New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses.

"Hundreds? Thousands? I have no idea," Munoz said when asked how many notes he has posted in the last few months.

The popularity of Munoz's notes led him to create an RU Post-it Anonymous website ( and Twitter account ((at)RuPostIt) to keep track of his quotes and interact with fans.

After months of trying to keep his identity a secret, Munoz revealed his name in December in a story in the Daily Targum, the campus newspaper, and again last month in a video posted on the Rutgers website.

But Munoz remains reluctant to be photographed, reveal his hometown or give too many details about himself in the hope the focus will remain on his Post-it project and the simple joy of finding ephemeral words of encouragement in an unexpected spot.

Many of his friends still do not know he is behind the notes, he said. He has not told his family.

The RU Post-it Anonymous website is filled with sometimes poignant anonymous notes from members of the Rutgers community sharing stories about spotting the sticky notes.

"Yesterday morning at the Suites bus stop, I saw one of your Post-its," reads one note on the site. "It said, 'Pick yourself back up; You got this.' You have no idea how much I needed to read that. I've slept like ten hours total this week and have been dealing with some heavy depression ... Your Post-it reminded me of my strength and the day turned out fine!"

Munoz said his sticky note mission began last spring when the instructor in his acting course told the class to spend a week walking around campus without wearing headphones to better observe the world around them.