Promoting the Act of Kindness

May is kindness month on campus. Events such as the speech by the Dalai Lama and holidays like Mother’s Day celebrate the promotion of kindness.

From May 3-10, the Student Achievement Guided by Engagement (SAGE) Scholars of UC Irvine incorporated this idea and hosted Live KIND, a week of activities that promote compassion and serving others.

Live KIND is a project founded by alumna Jasmine Fang in the fall of 2010. It’s a project in conjunction with the XIV Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship.

The SAGE Scholars, a program created by the UC Office of the president to complement the UC Outreach Program, worked to continue Fang’s original project.

Their planning culminated in a week-long event with 10 other organizations that volunteered and created their own events that promoted kindness.

Events included a bake sale by Jump Start and the making of friendship bracelets by the various law societies on campus. Apart from these events, the Live KIND committee also gathered surveys, captured photos and filmed opinions of the participants and clubs to assess people’s perspective on what kindness is.

“The Live KIND project tries to ensure that people will live in peace and act kindly by encouraging them to participate in random gestures of kindness for a week,” said Kerwin Perez, a fourth-year biological sciences major and a member of the Live KIND planning committee. “Although this project is only a week long, we hoped that the actions and participation of people from this event would awaken a deep longing within themselves to do good and echo to their peers to spread kindness.”

One of the organizations, Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, focused on creating cards for Kids Who Care. Alpha Phi Omega has worked with Kids Who Care in the past, arriving at the foundation to perform songs and other talent acts.

The cards for the Live KIND project were designed with positive sayings to inspire the ill children to a speedy recovery. The event was coordinated by the organization’s service vice presidents Phil Lee, a senior economics student, and Thomas Way, a third-year business economics major.

“Service is important to people because it is important to give back to the community,” Lee said. “I want to make a positive difference in my community and someone else’s life. It is really important to give back because the wealth you give is the wealth you keep.”

Parneet Ghuman, a third-year sociology student, participated in a Live KIND service event hosted by Circle K at UC Irvine. She first heard about the event through a friend and participated in decorating an Easter egg that included a kind message and chocolate.

“It’s a really nice idea to dedicate a week to just do something nice and show your appreciation to another person,” Ghuman said. “The event demonstrated you don’t have to do anything big to show that you care; something as little as writing a message is sufficient to illustrate your feelings. I hope that the event continues — it’s an extra reminder to express kindness and compassion whenever people can.”

At the end of the week, the committee reflected on the impact of the event and the importance of continuing to promote kindness.

“Live KIND does not exist to tell people how to act or live, but rather guide people on living kindly and happily not only for themselves but for others as well,” Perez said. “One can never have enough compassion, love and kindness on the UCI campus, or anywhere for that matter. One must always try to live kind.”