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Eliz­abeth Oxaal and Meera Baldwin created a Facebook group called “A Group Where We Bless Each Other After Sneezing.” | Meera Baldwin

Sophomore Meera Baldwin has always under­stood the impor­tance of blessing a person after they sneeze. After noticing a clear lack of sneeze blessings within the Hillsdale com­munity, she decided to be the ripple that would create a wave of change. She teamed up with sophomore Liz Oxaal, and together they created a Facebook group called “A Group Where We Bless Each Other After Sneezing”.

According to Baldwin and Oxaal, the group is ori­ented towards edu­cating people about sneeze blessings. Their mission statement reads, “We unfor­tu­nately live in a world where not everyone is blessed enough to receive a blessing after they sneeze. The purpose of this group is to raise awareness about the topic and hope­fully come up with helpful alter­na­tives.”

“We ask our fol­lowers to post inci­dents where they sneezed and did not receive a blessing,” Oxaal said. “It’s like a big support group.”

The group started with only about 20 members, but rapidly grew to over 240. Once the group became more well known, group members began to con­tribute to the ongoing dis­cus­sions about sneezing and sneeze blessings. Under the lead­ership of Oxaal and Baldwin, the group began to settle on certain truths and rules regarding sneeze blessings. One such rule is known as “no sneezy, no blessy.”

According to group mediator sophomore Haley Strack, “’No sneezy, no blessy’ is the first and only real guideline of the group.” This rule centers around the fact that a person must sneeze in order to receive a sneeze blessing.

Oxaal explained that “No sneezy, no blessy,” was ini­tially a response to a question from a group member, but turned into a much more con­tro­versial topic.

“There has been a lot of con­fusion about this issue. “No sneezy, no blessy” does not mean you cannot bless someone for any reason,” Oxaal said. “If I cough, I would love it if someone blessed me. But within the group, the issue was created where someone asked if they can bless someone if they only look like they’re about to sneeze.”

Baldwin expanded on some of the other con­tro­versies within the group. 

“We had a sneeze naming com­pe­tition,” Baldwin said, describing their dif­fi­culty in selecting a winner for the com­pe­tition. “We were afraid to come across as biased. After we announced the winners, two group members called for our impeachment.”

Despite dis­agree­ments between members, the group has still fos­tered a new love for sneeze blessings within the com­munity.

“There have been a lot of people who confess that they have failed to bless someone after they sneezed,” Oxaal said. “I think that’s some­thing that can unite us all, because it’s some­thing we all struggle with.”

Strack also com­mented on the pos­itive impact the group has created. “I hope people realize that anyone deserves a blessing,” she com­mented. “The Lord doesn’t specify that a blessing is only for friends or family — it’s for everyone.”