The Union Programming Council (UPC), under the direction of Jordy Black, has challenged students at the U to spread the love this February with the “Kindness Challenge.”
The challenge is simple: Do something nice for a stranger or friend, and anonymously email, Facebook message or tweet a description of what you did to the UPC office.
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Black said the idea came from reading stories about random acts of kindness. For example, at a restaurant in Canada, a line of 228 cars paid for the meal of the person behind them. People have put change in parking meters, paid to fill up someone else’s gas tank and sent notes of appreciation to teachers, family members and friends. At the U, one parking lot on campus found random notes placed on cars wishing people a good day and good luck with their studies.
“The important thing to remember is that you never know what someone else is going through,” Black said. “You could turn someone’s entire day around just by being kind and paying it forward.”
Black noted many students have been hesitant to send in information about their kind act, preferring to keep their anonymity. To remedy this, UPC has been leaving kindness cards around campus that students can fill out and drop off at the UPC office, no name necessary.
Alex Butler, a senior in anthropology, was the recipient of a kind act at the Stadium TRAX station. Butler said it was a nice reminder that there were still good people out there.
“I told the guy standing behind me to go ahead and go before me,” Butler said. “I didn’t really think anything else of it until he turned around a minute later and handed me a ticket and told me to hop on the train before I missed it. It made my whole day. Now I’m trying to find an opportunity to do the same for someone else.”
Black and UPC volunteers have shown up at random places on campus the past few weeks handing out cookies and treats to students passing by. Black is using the exposure to spread the word about the kindness challenge and to get people involved.
“The challenge began at the start of February, but it doesn’t have an end,” Black said. “Our hope is … people across campus will continue doing good things for each other.”