SAMRU x Rainbow Elders revive the lost art of penpalling while fostering connections between LGBTQ+ students and seniors


Penpalling: the act of writing letters to someone you don’t know, but want to learn more about.

Penpalsomeone who writes letters to another person to share information about themselves, their lifestyle and their culture.

In times before social media and instant messaging ruled the world, penpalling was one of the most popular hobbies for individuals looking to connect, learn more about each other, and experience a genuine connection with others.

SAMRU and Rainbow Elders of Calgary have teamed up to bring an exciting opportunity to the MRU community called Rainbow Post! The program incorporates the lost art of penpalling by matching LGBTQ+ students with LGBTQ+ seniors in the community (including LGBTQ+ allies). Rainbow Post actively works to create and foster genuine connections between community members.

Writing letters can be purposeful and acts as a great way to take a break from screen time and the fatigue that follows.

Letter writing may seem foreign to most of us, and although it can be hard at first there’s no right or wrong way to write your own personal letters. Some people add small drawings, poems, and even small teabags as surprises for their penpal.

Here are some content ideas that you can add to your letters:

  • A list of questions for your penpal
  • This or that (you can answer these, and then ask your penpal their preference)
  • A list of your favourite movies/shows/music/books/etc
  • Your daily routine
  • A (self-made) poem or lyrics
  • A recipe
  • A list of words in your first language (if it differs from theirs)
  • Quotes

Personal information will remain confidential, with the exception of your name, pronouns, mailing address, and bio, which will be shared with your matched pen pal. If you would like to try penpalling out and want to build genuine connections with LGBTQ+ seniors in the community please fill out the Google Form before March 19, 2021, at noon.

Have questions? Reach out to Sarah Armstrong for more information or visit Pride Centre’s upcoming programming.