You couldn’t walk very far on campus this week without encountering one of the many inspirational messages written in chalk on the sidewalks. The feel-good campaign is the work of Fighting for Ophelia, which is a student-led group. Its members are trained and coached on matters of relational aggression, behavior this is intended to harm someone by damaging or manipulating his or her relationships with others.
“We run one Kindness Week every semester as part of our regular business just to remind people on campus to be aware of how they are affecting others and to spread love and kindness whenever possible,” says Hillary Anderson, a senior business and economics major who founded the group.
“The chalk messages all came from the heart,” says Anderson, who is also a fellow for the Office of Admission and UCARE. “The Ophelia mentors spend a great deal of time hanging out together and talking each other up – it’s the heart of what we do. So we all share with each other our favorite quotes and the best compliments you’ll ever get and those are what seem to come out most often when we’re writing messages to our peers on the sidewalks.”
Other activities for Kindness Week included writing letters, decorating cookies, and enjoying goodies such as candy bars, s’mores, pretzels and Popsicles.
“The feedback we get about the chalking and about the week’s events is always overwhelmingly positive,” says Anderson. “I think it’s just a week of fun things to do, and cute reminders of kindness and how wonderful you are. Who doesn’t love that?”