By Jess Hume-Pantuso, OMN Photo Chief
Have you ever wondered how you can help make your campus and your city a more welcoming place for everyone? This week, November 8-13, we celebrate World Kindness Week—with Nov. 13, 2021 being World Kindness Day. We have created a list of small acts of kindness you could do on or off campus to help spread more joy and smiles throughout your community. Who knows, maybe you will make someone’s day!
This list ranges from small acts of kindness such as paying for the next person in line, giving a genuine compliment, or offering help to someone, to using inclusive language in your daily practice.
Pay for the next person in line
A way to show kindness to others is by paying for the next person in line. For example, if you are at a coffee shop, consider paying for the person behind you to create a positive experience for a stranger. Paying for the next person in line is an act of kindness that could put a smile on someone’s face—especially when it comes to their morning coffee!
According to the Mental Health foundation of the UK, helping others is thought to be one of the ways that people create, maintain and strengthen their social connections. By helping others, we feel better about ourselves and we could also help those that might feel isolated in our community.
Give someone a genuine compliment and some much-needed acknowledgement
Another way you can show kindness to others is by giving a genuine compliment to them. You can give a compliment to your classmate, a friend, your family member, or even a stranger. A simple “I love your shoes” or a “good morning” alongside a smile and a wave could give someone the confidence boost that they need!
According to Harvard Business School Review, giving compliments or expressing gratitude, has a mood-lifting effect and contributes to well-being. Everyone benefits when someone gives a compliment because it makes both parties—the complimenter and the receiver—happier.
Open the door for someone else
If you are on campus and someone is behind you, another kind gesture you could do to create a positive welcoming environment on campus is to keep the door open for the next person. Add in a kind “hello” and a smile and this gesture goes from a routine habit to an intentional act of kindness.
Offer someone help
If you see that someone is in need of assistance, lend them a helping hand! If a classmate needs help with course curriculum, start a study group. If your neighbor has been pulling weeds for hours, put on your gardening gloves. If your employee is having a bad day, give them some grace and flexibility. The opportunities to help are endless!
Donate your used clothes
Now that winter is starting, you might have a few clothing items in the back of your closet that you haven’t seen in months. If you’re not going to wear it anymore, somebody else will! Donating your used clothes to shelters is an act of kindness that might mean a lot for someone who has to survive the cold and wet winter months. Try donating your used clothes to shelters and other foundations that provide free resources to those who need them.
A compiled list of local donation spots in Corvallis, Ore., as well as specific donations items that are needed can be found here.
Conversations can be more powerful than you might think. Celebrate World Kindness Week by investing in long-term self-awareness. You can communicate more inclusively by using correct pronouns, by using gender-neutral language, and by refraining from using words and phrases with a stigma around them like crazy and insane, or “I have such bad OCD.” Instead, try using alternative words and phrases that hold the same meaning but are more inclusive, such as wild and outrageous, or “I like things to be tidy.” These simple, deliberate changes could make a big impact on someone!
Invest in self-care
When we think about kindness, we usually think of what we can do for others, but it’s important that we are also kind to ourselves. For World Kindness Week, do something nice for yourself—invest in self-care. Go for a walk in the park, play that video game that you like so much, treat yourself to some frozen yogurt, watch a movie—anything to boost your spirits and put a smile on your face.