Brandeis celebrated its ninth annual Kindness Day on Thursday, bringing together University faculty, staff and students in a campus-wide effort in the spirit of passing along kindness. 

According to a Nov. 5 email sent by the Division of Student Affairs, a Brandeis faculty member began the Kindness Day tradition in 2009 as an opportunity to build community, encourage small acts of kindness around campus and promote morale. The Student Union and various departments across campus funded the day’s activities and events. 

Michaela Cabral ’19, a 2018 Kindness Day coordinator, explained in an email to the Justice that there are two Kindness Day committees: a faculty committee and a student committee. Within the student committee, students can serve in one of six positions: archivist, treasurer, club outreach coordinator, events coordinator, faculty outreach coordinator and volunteer coordinator. 

This year, event organizers created a Kindness Day Snapchat filter. Coordinators also took over the University’s official Instagram Live Story. They encouraged students to use hashtags such as #brandeiskindnessday, #niceatdeis and #deisisnice. 

Pink streamers decorated the Shapiro Campus Center and golden balloons spelled out the words “Be Kind.” One wall was dedicated to Post-It notes on which students could write positive messages. They could also choose a message to take with them. Various student clubs and campus partners tabled with free merchandise and hosted various activities, such as rock decorating. 

Kindness Day volunteers also tabled in the SCC, Upper Usdan and outside of the Department of Community Living office all day, giving passers-by the opportunity to write Kindness Day cards for friends or drop off already-written cards. These cards were then delivered by volunteers. 

Cabral shared with the Justice that her favorite part of Kindness Day is the Kindness Cards. “It’s always so heartwarming to see how excited people get to write cards for their friends and how much support there is on campus,” Cabral wrote. “This year, we actually ran out of cards, that’s how engaged people are.” 

Student organizations and departments across campus also hosted events. According to the list of Kindness Day events, the Brandeis Orthodox Organization sponsored the wall of Post-It notes. Brandeis Veg Club offered students the opportunity to hand-make a dog toy for shelter dogs, while the Waltham Group and the Department of Community Service co-hosted a make-your-own s’mores event. The Graduate Student Association hosted a food drive to help stock the newly opened Brandeis Food Pantry located in Kutz Hall.

The Multifaith Chaplaincy hosted several events during the week, such as the Multifaith Dinner on Wednesday, where students from all religious backgrounds enjoyed a meal together, and the Zen Zone on Friday, where students could participate in mindful breathing and peaceful activities in the Usdan Student Center Peace Room.The Hiatt Career Center gave out free portable chargers, while Academic Services set up a table with hot chocolate and pastries for those who stopped by. 

Community Advisors, supported by DCL, passed out cider, hot chocolate and donuts outside residence halls in the morning while students walked to and from class. CAs across campus also hosted events for their buildings on Kindness Day. Some asked their residents to send in videos describing what kindness means to them or pictures and videos documenting acts of kindness completed throughout the day.

The Massell Quad and Rosenthal Quad joint Kindness Day activity was a “great way to spread kindness to all of campus and share what kindness means to each of us,” Audrey Grotheer ’20, a CA in Massell Quad, told the Justice. 

North Quad CA Michelle Yan ’19 recalled the impression Kindness Day left during her first year at Brandeis. “I was so amazed that Brandeis had a day intentionally dedicated to thinking about kindness,” she told the Justice, adding, “I love seeing people smile more on this day and receive love and appreciation.” 

Cabral said that her favorite Kindness Day event was the Facilities and Custodial Lunch, during which members of the Facilities Services staff enjoyed lunch in Ridgewood Commons, courtesy of meal swipes donated by students. Students were encouraged to stop by and personally thank their Facilities Services staff. Cabral noted that the lunch is always “full of positive energy and gratitude.” 

This year, Kindness Day extended beyond the physical borders of campus. Kindness Cards could be sent electronically to friends studying abroad via a Google Form, sponsored by the Office of Study Abroad. 

“Kindness Day is important because it gives students a chance to appreciate each other and themselves,” Cabal explained. “[That] often gets pushed to the side with our busy schedules. I see [Kindness Day] as being a moment where we simultaneously care for each other and ourselves.”