Community Service Center says “be kind”

Random Acts of Kindness Week, a four-day event that started Feb. 10, is  hosted by California Lutheran University’s Community Service Center. It introduces new events that utilize social media to promote Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization.

RAK Week, an international “celebration of kindness” program, was created by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a nonprofit organization that inspires people to “practice kindness and pass it on to others,” according to its website.

CLU’s CSC has celebrated RAK Week on campus for two years but prior to that they celebrated RAK Day.  The events vary yearly based on the interns planning the event, but the message is always the same.

“We exist for more than service. There is a service in being kind to others and thinking beyond yourself,” said Karen Schomaker, the coordinator for community service at CLU.

During this RAK Week, CSC will post inspirational and positive messages throughout campus.

The quotes are meant to inspire students and faculty to think of some “kindness opportunities,” Schomaker said.

“Compliment Tuesday” included an all-day “compliment-a-thon” in which students stopped by the Spies-Bornemann Center for Education and Technology alcove from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and wrote anonymous or named compliments to others.

CSC took pictures of the written compliments and posted them to the new CSC Facebook and Instagram pages using the hashtag “#CLUCompliments” so students could follow and participate.

The ability to make “Compliment Tuesday” an online interaction allowed the “compliment-a-thon” to be an all-day event rather than an activity taking place for a few hours at a table, said senior Katie Hemming, a CSC intern.

“Fair Trade Wednesday” takes place at the flagpole from 12-2 p.m. and allows students to write thank you cards for farmers associated with Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization that aims to prevent exploitation of international farmers and promote fair prices and wages.

RAK Week will end Feb. 13 with a movie screening of “Pay It Forward” in Overton Hall at 6:30 p.m. The 2000 drama portrays a domino effect of kind actions. In the film, when someone performs a kind act towards another person, he or she “pays it forward” to someone else.

Despite the new events of this year’s RAK Week, CSC’s biggest challenge remains publicizing the event, according to Hemming.

“It’s hard to motivate college students sometimes to be excited about service, but when it’s something small, everybody can get into it,” Hemming said.

By holding events like the “compliment-a-thon” and thank you card writing, CSC hopes to emphasize that acts of kindness are still an act of service, but expressed in a different way.

“Kindness doesn’t necessarily mean buying a drink for somebody or paying money, it could be smiling at somebody or doing something you wouldn’t normally do that maybe they really need,” Schomaker said.

The importance of kindness is something that many on campus can appreciate. Sophomore Evan Carthen feels that RAK Week sends a great message that should be recognized more often.

“It shouldn’t be a week, it should be all the time. I think it’s kind of disappointing that we have to notify people to be kind during a certain period because I know myself definitely needs work on being kind on a regular basis,” Carthen said.

More information about RAK Week can be found on CSC’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CLUcommunityservicecenter.com.

 

Monica Linares
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 12, 2014