This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.

October 1, 2001

Plans for Month of Kindness Shaping Up

Even before the terrorist attacks redefined evil on Sept. 11, Debbie Rubenstein was focused on good deeds.

Her idea is to devote the entire month of November to acts of kindness on campus and create a model that could be adopted nationwide next year.

"Our goal is to unite the campus community in paying close attention to relationships and to participating in acts of kindness," says Rubenstein, director of the Hillel Foundation. "Promoting kindness throughout the campus community will further encourage an environment filled with tolerance, pluralism and openness."

Rubenstein originally planned the Month of Kindness just for Jewish students. But she soon realized the idea is more universal, and even has potential to go national.

The idea is catching on, although plans are not yet firmed up. Student groups and offices on campus are already planning activities such as special movies; presents for janitors; kindness cards to send to that special someone, with profits going to charity; and a campaign by Food Services to "be kind to yourself" by eating right. Other plans including hosting people from homeless shelters for dinner, collecting books for schools in Hartford, and hosting seminars and lectures about kindness.

"We would like to use creative programming to put civility on the forefront of the minds of students, faculty and administration," Rubenstein says. "Since college campuses breed the next generation of leaders, we can make a difference in promoting and fostering a better, kinder and more giving world. Each participating organization is being asked for $100 to offset the cost of posters and publicity.

The promotional materials will use quotes from various traditions and cultures that demonstrate that kindness and civility are needed and meaningful, and suggestions about acts of kindness students can perform.

"Kindness is infectious," says Rubenstein, "and by inundating the campus with a focus on kindness for an entire month, a culture of kindness and community will be created."

Karen A. Grava

Issue Index