How far can one random act of kindness go? One College of Arts and Letters organization spent the first week of March trying to find out how far by spreading its own random acts of kindness.
The Missouri State Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter entered a national campaign competition through the national PRSSA chapter for the organization, Random Acts of Kindness. The goal for the competition is to design the best public relations campaign that promotes random acts of kindness.
“We wanted to promote a sense of well-being and kindness towards other students and faculty on campus,” Senior Public Relations Major Doug Gaehle explained.
Four students from the PRSSA chapter are behind this campaign including Gaehle, Senior Communication Major Ashlee Stater, Senior Public Relations Major Kiersten Bagley, and Senior Public Relations Major Lindsay Vanquaethem. For the last week, these students have encouraged people to do little things to make the lives of the people around them, including their own, better.
The campaign started with a donation of 900 donuts from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The four students went to a local Krispy Kreme store where they hand-made and packaged the donuts that they would later pass out around campus to promote the campaign. Attached to each donut bag was a random act of kindness along with their campaign slogan, “something small that warms us all.”
“We handed the donuts out in the morning and it was a good way to start the day,” Gaehle said.
Throughout the week the group also hung post-it notes with random acts of kindness written on them. They were stuck on walls, elevators, white boards, doors, desks and many other places around campus. The idea being that if someone picked up a post-it, it would remind them to do something nice for someone without expecting something in return.
On the final day of the campaign, the students developed “Farewell Friday.” The final Friday of the campaign was the last day before spring break and the goal was to send students off with safety tips for spring break as well as to remind students that they can do random acts of kindness anywhere and at any time.
“We were surprised how many people jumped on the bandwagon for something so simple that makes such a difference,” Gaehle said.
Although this campaign was initially created for the competition, it wasn’t necessarily all about winning. Although, there is a small prize for the winner of the competition which is announced in April.
“It doesn’t feel like a competition because we’re helping people,” Gaehle said. “It’s not about what we get (for winning), it’s about the experience.”
Hands-on professional experience is what PRSSA is about. The Missouri State chapter has many programs that give students the necessary experience to help them achieve in their careers. One such program is PRSSA’s student managed public relations firm, Bear Communications.
Bear Communications works with organizations who are interested in the public relations services it offers. Students who participate are not paid because the point is to gain experience. Some organizations the students have worked with include the Urban Districts Alliance and the GYN Cancer Alliance.
“It’s a good way for students to get involved and get practical experience that isn’t an internship,” Gaehle said. “It is invaluable experience that the organizations want and students may get jobs based on the work they do.”