This week, justFeatures spoke with Gabby Zilkha ’16, the coordinator for Kindness Day, which will occur on campus this Thursday. 

JustFeatures: Tell us about Kindness Day.

Gabby Zilkha: Kindness Day was started five years ago by a faculty member who saw it as a perfect fit for Brandeis, with the staff and faculty. We have general interactions every day, but it's hard sometimes with busy schedules to take a moment to show your appreciation. It's a way to bring everyone together and show appreciation for people from every corner of campus. But we also like to think of it as a celebration of kindness, because kindness does happen at Brandeis every day— we are one of the kindest schools! It's a nice way to showcase that and have a day dedicated to something positive.

JF: How did you assume the position of Kindness Day coordinator?

GZ: My first year, a student named Rebecca Bachman ’13 was graduating. She is wonderful, and we met during Social Justice Pre-Orientation. She shot me an email and asked if I wanted to get involved with this; she thought it would be a great fit. I started with her from that. She worked with me, coaching me, to get ready to hand it over to me when she graduated. Since then, we've grown the program. The other coordinator, Kira Levin ’15, started her freshman year as well. We've worked together to form Kindness Day into what it is now. 

JF: Why should everyone get involved with Kindness Day?

GZ: It's an important thing, because often times people don't take the time to be kind. If you participate in it, you can see first hand how much of a difference it can make in your life. We can all be so internalized sometimes, and it's nice to realize that you are part of a community. Do it because it's fun, it will make you smile-- and that's healthy during midterms week. But also because it leads to a better community life for you.

JF: What's something that everyone can do every day to feel part of the community?

GZ: It's simple things. like taking the time to give a friend a hug or a high-five, saying thank you to a random stranger, holding the door open to people. Write a thank you note to a professor. If someone does something nice for you, make sure you acknowledge it. 

JF: How many people are involved?

GZ: We have staff members all over campus. We have a representative from the graduate school who's a student as well as a  faculty member. We also have members from human resources, because the committee actually housed in human recources. We have representatives from Department of Community Living, and from the International Student's Office. We also have people from Sodexo and from Student Activities. Our entire staff committee is about 15 people, and we have student involvement which is a smaller group of about 10 people.

JF: What are some events to look out for on Kindness Day?

GZ: Our staple is the Kindness Day kindness cards. Send one to a friend, and they'll have a nice little surprise when they open up their mailbox. Be on the lookout for those, they will be in Lower Usdan Tuesday through Thursday, as well as the Shapiro Campus Center and the International Cultural Center on Thursday and in Sherman Function Hall on Wednesday night.

—Rose Gittell