December 14, 2018

BY SHAFAQ PARWEZ

Kindness should not be restricted to a special occasion or a single day. This was the message given on Random Act of Kindness Day at Conestoga College on Nov. 4. The event was organized by the Student Life department which is always using different ways to encourage students to have mutual respect and encourage positive vibes.

Several campaigners stood at one of the college entrances, reminding people about how important kindness is in our daily lives.

At a display set up by Student Life, some students said that coming together such as this helps break down the stress of daily living and overwhelming academic assignments, particularly at this time of the year. They said it is easier to meet new students from different backgrounds and have meaningful conversations at such stalls. These brief meetings not only enrich students’ knowledge but also gives them a chance to engage in a once-in-a-lifetime exchange of cultural enlightenment.

As part of the event, a number of activities were set up on Nov. 4. The Random Act of Kindness Hotspot 1 – RAK Race featured participants spinning a wheel with some acts of kindnesses listed on it. The challenge was to complete the act within 20 seconds of spinning the wheel. Successful students received candy.

At Hotspot 2 – Kindness Crafts students added their messages to thank you and thinking of you cards.

Another activity involved Condor care packages of food items being left around the campus. Students who found these could keep them and also received a RAK suggestion. They could also sit on a Kindness Couch set up by CSI Leadership Ambassadors. The main purpose was to encourage students to sit down and chat with each other about how being compassionate adds value to their lives.

On Nov. 8, a PokéStop Lure was set up.

Two students mentioned that they had joined Student Life only this September and have been involved in different activities that allows them to mingle with different cultures. Activities such as Cultural Diversity Week and Random Act of Kindness has given them the opportunity to come across cultures they never knew existed or had limited awareness about.

Chelsea Jeffery, a first-year student in the fitness and health promotion program, said, “I just like what they (Student Life) do. I saw them around the school last year which was my first year. I just wanted to be a part of something bigger.”

In addition to helping students meet new people and learn about different cultures, Student Life is helping them to overcome their shyness indirectly and to give them a broader outlook on life. Random Act of Kindness Day is also the perfect opportunity to get to know more about different programs being offered at the college.

Jeffery said, “I think meeting new people from different programs is awesome. I love getting new perspectives.”

She said kindness is a virtue we should practise every day.

“Random Act of Kindness is there to instil kindness in everyone and reminding everyone that opening a door for someone can really change their day. Some people are having a bad day and randomly complimenting them could really change that,” she said.

Staff emphasized the fact that there is no single day for kindness. It should come naturally to us and we should make it a point to stop and smile regularly.

Deven Ram, a first-year student in the community and criminal justice program at the college, said, “Random Act of Kindness is not just one day. It could be any day and every day. Even though we are all so busy, this day, we could all do something good for somebody.”

The event was not limited to Student Life, other departments around the campus were playing their part in paying it forward. These included ONE card, the Library Resource Centre, Learning Commons, Career Centre and athletics and the recreation centre.

The kindness endeavours were also featured on social media. On the Conestoga College Facebook page, students and staff could post their stories and images of their acts of kindness. Students could also nominate three people to carry out a random act of kindness through this page and start a chain of kindness in the community.

Laura Black, Student Life programmer, said, “Random Act of Kindness is something we celebrate every day and our volunteers have been doing it for a while now.”

“But this is a day to get out there and positively roam and remind yourselves during a busy time of mid-terms and winter weather and rain and all of those things that all it takes is 20 seconds to make someone’s day better.”

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