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Sharing smiles with a hashtag

By Samantha NeudorfAssistant News Editor

Take a Break

The hashtag “HofstraBeKind” trended on Wednesday, not just in tweets, but in notes left around campus. The Newman Club held its first Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday. Notes of kindness, love letters and words of encouragement were scattered around campus to spread optimism throughout campus. Newman Club is a Catholic ministry center at the University, based in the Interfaith Center of the Student Center. Danielle Natorski, president of the Newman Club and a senior English major, was pleased with the overwhelming response of the Hofstra community through social media. “We’ve gotten a lot of people that have either been retweeting our hashtag, or retweeting things that we’ve been tweeting or people, on Facebook saying that they liked it who we didn’t even know from the Newman Club,” Natorski said. #HofstraBeKind was the hashtag created specifically for people to tweet or tag on Instagram photos. They were posted to the @HofstraCCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) Twitter and Instagram accounts. Members of the club went caroling around offices in the Student Center and gave Kit-Kat bars with the attached note “Take a break” to maintenance workers and Lackmann employees during common hour. They also wrote anonymous love letters and left them around places such as Bits and Bytes and the library. Positive messages and flyers were also posted on walls around campus. “We wanted to show that any random thing can make a difference and bring kindness about,” Natorski said. “Kindness is so contagious that anything can be done to spread that.” Erin Rapp, treasurer of the Newman Club and sophomore journalism major, helped to distribute the Kit-Kat bars. She was pleased to see their responses. “One of the women, Margie, grabbed my arm and said over and over how sweet and kind it was and I made her day that much better. Everyone was grateful and appreciative,” Rapp said. Random Acts of Kindness Day was an idea created by Newman Club member Molly Tette, a junior business management major. Tette said that one day in an entrepreneurship class, her professor asked the students how they liked Hofstra. The responses were negative. “People were saying that [Hofstra is] so cold, and everyone goes to get their work done but there is not a lot of school spirit,” Tette said. “So, I thought, what if we made an event to make people kinder and bring positivity back?” Tette left love letters around campus, started conversations with strangers and thanked workers more than usual for the day. “What I really hope is that people realize that it’s so simple just to be kind to one another,” she said. “We don’t have to walk around campus avoiding eye contact. We can smile at each other.” Jenna Gehring, sophomore, was not aware that it was Random Acts of Kindness Day until she noticed a flyer with detachable tabs by Café on the Corner. “I was proud of Hofstra because that’s a really cute and nice thing to do, and I’ve seen it before. I was glad that Hofstra participated,” Gehring said. The flyer said “Take What You Need #hofstrabekind,” and the tabs read “love, hope, faith, patience, courage, peace, healing” and “strength.” Others students remained unaware of Random Acts of Kindness Day. Senior Ryan Derry said he is usually kind, but did nothing out of the ordinary on Wednesday. “[I did not do] anything besides the usual holding a door open or saying thank you or saying bless you when someone sneezes,” Derry said. He does however think that the day could have a positive effect on the Hofstra community. “I think it would make everyone have a better day, just because everyone is so stressed out all of the time. Little things can always help,” Derry said. Going forward, the Newman Club hopes to see this day reoccur more regularly. “I think to see this happen on a semester or yearly basis would be awesome,” Natorski said. “To have something like that grow would be great to see.”

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