July 13, 2024


If you drop papers in a busy hallway at Conestoga College, will anyone help you? Odds are that someone will. In a recent experiment 64 per cent of people came to the aid of the unfortunate paper dropper.

In the experiment I decided to walk, jog or run around Conestoga College’s Doon campus hallways holding a binder of nearly 40 loose papers and drop them “accidentally” to see if anyone would help me pick them up.

“It’s kind of like a prank, but for nice people,” joked Jared Langerak, a community and social services management student, after reading the piece of paper that he quickly picked up which read: “Thanks for helping me! Would you kindly let me interview you for the Conestoga Spoke newspaper about your random act of kindness?”

Common thoughts were echoed when I asked each person why he or she helped out. “Anyone would do the same,” said biotechnology technician student Maria Romero, who stopped without hesitation in the hallway to lend a hand. “I’d like someone to help me if I dropped all my stuff,” said business accounting student Desmond Sampson.

However, not all the results were positive. I dropped the papers 25 times, but nine times no one lent a hand. Some of the lowlights included a girl walking on top of the papers as they were being picked up and a male laughing aloud when seeing the papers dropped.

But most of the time people just picked up a bunch of papers and handed them to me without saying a word, before going on their way. Their smiles indicated they didn’t think it took a lot of effort.

The mostly positive stats aren’t that surprising considering that Conestoga has been very vocal in promoting their Respect Campaign which asks students to “Be the difference.” The campaign focuses on building a safe and friendly environment for students to go to school in. My experiment shows it is succeeding.

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