Doing small acts of kindness should not be difficult, so a new group called College Kindness does its best to make giving back and helping people just a little bit easier.
Launched by a Bentley University Honors Program student, College Kindness is built on the belief that small acts of kindness, when frequently exercised, are profoundly powerful. And it wants Bentley students to be part of this: to be able to both perform and experience these small acts of kindness every day.
The group develops ideas for simple activities you can do for the sole purpose of putting a smile on someone’s face — whether that’s a fellow student, a faculty or staff member or anyone else on campus. The organization’s website provides a platform to discover and participate in these projects.
Starting the Organization
This program was started by Ari Gusinov ’18. Asked what his motivation was to start the initiative, Ari recalled that when he started his Bentley career, he knew he wanted to get involved in charitable work. Like many incoming freshman, Ari headed over to the activities fair to find an organization where he could help. As he puts it, at the time Bentley did not have a “simple, effective, and meaningful opportunity to do so,” which led him to take matters into his own hands. “Ultimately, the trigger which ignited my decision to take on creating College Kindness was a fusion of both a desperate desire to help others and an unwillingness to compromise for something less than what people who needed our help deserve,” Ari said.
He launched his first project alongside a handful of peers just a month into his freshman year in October 2014. “Soon after that first project, word spread fast. Before I knew it, there were more people interested in participating than I could manage alone.”
“I knew I could no longer function as an individual entity so I built a website platform stripped of chaos and formed an incredible team filled with the most driven and dedicated peers I have the fortune of knowing. Together we created College Kindness to cater to how we would have wanted the perfect experience to be: commitment-free, passion-filled and immensely impactful,” he added.
Originally, College Kindness was developed around the idea of going into the greater Waltham community to give back. Getting a quick start, Gusinov launched his first service project alongside a handful of peers just a month into his freshman year in October 2014. “Soon after that first project, word spread fast. Before I knew it, there were more people interested in participating than I could manage alone, so I formed an incredible team filled with the most driven and dedicated peers I have the fortune of knowing.”
Rethinking the Idea
This group, making up the executive board, worked together for the next year developing College Kindness. But as they grew, they began to rethink the direction. There were already several service-based student organizations on campus, but none working to make Bentley a better place to live, work and attend classes. The university did offer activities such as bringing therapy dogs to campus to help students de-stress, but there was no student-driven movement to promote regular acts of kindness.
With this concept of daily acts of kindness in mind, the group developed a new mission statement and began the formal process of becoming an officially sanctioned Bentley organization. The executive board is now in the process of planning several projects meant to brighten the days of those around them — similar to the anonymous BEntleyKIND day a few years ago, when students were surprised to find free coffee and donuts, signs to be kind to one another and other similar messages around campus all day. They’re also seeking new members to help execute their projects — or just suggestions for great ideas they can run with. Being on the receiving end of kind gestures is great, but actually doing the kind gesture can be even better!
The organization hopes to create many more opportunities to brighten the days of the Bentley community and spread its vision of completing small acts of kindness every day. The potential of becoming an officially sanctioned Bentley organization would help to further its reach and mission. However, regardless of its standing on campus, College Kindness is poised to grow and do its part in making Bentley a better place.
A version of this article first appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Columnas, the Bentley University honors program newsletter.