UA students and faculty joined together last week to perform over 13,000 acts of kindness as part of an event called Delight-Ful, a nationwide initiative to encourage random acts of kindness.
Food service management leaders and Chartwells Higher Education, the UA food service partner, started the Delight-Ful series to bring joy back to the campus in the first year after the pandemic. Chartwells serves over 300 college and university dining environments, according to its website. Nationally, these schools come together and count acts of kindness, hitting over 530,000 last year.
“Spreading kindness is just a way for us to band together as a community and as a nationwide company and impact people’s lives on the day-to-day,” said Mackenzie Cvar, Chartwells director of marketing and guest experience.
The UA kindness event was split into two parts last week. Earlier in the day, students and faculty visited eight booths at the Union Food Court with campus partners, freebies and more. While at the event, guests could get a Kindness Passport, and if they completed three acts, they could receive a complimentary dinner, log one service hour on Givepulse and enter to win a $50 Chartwells gift card.
The dinner occurred at Pomfret Dining Hall with activities and poke bowls, a special student-choice menu item.
“You never truly know how you’re going to impact someone’s life,” Cvar said. “It’s just a week, but we want it to go further. This week is to highlight how easy it can be.”
One participant and volunteer at the event was freshman Annie Morrow. She worked with the Volunteer Action Center and Alumni Scholarship Program to work a table that provided materials for sending a letter to a family member or friend.
“I think that this event is really cool because it gives students a practical and small way to show people they’re loved and that they care about them,” Morrow said.
Graduate assistant Sophia Schmidt monitored another booth for the Arkansas Union. At that table, students could call or text someone they love to tell them they care about them.
“We don’t do that enough,” Schmidt said. “We lean on people a lot, but not often do you tell them that you love them. It was cute to hear some of their moms crying on the other end of the phone.”
Chartwells was not the only organization that enacted a kindness initiative in February. Junior Grade Martin, a wellness resident assistant, created a “Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness Challenge” to encourage residents of Hotz and Reid to show kindness toward others.
The challenge manifested as a bingo card with different challenges to complete. Martin's favorite suggestions on the card were thanking the institutional service assistants and being kind to the environment. Her goal was to encourage the simple things, she said.
Cvar also said that Chartwell’s wanted to create habits of simple acts.
“At the end of the day, what we want is just everyone to be kinder to one another,” Cvar said. “It really does impact your day and it really can make a difference in someone’s life.”
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