Before the Lawrence community gathers for the May 13 inauguration of President Laurie A. Carter, there will be a celebration of kindness.
17 Days of Kindness begins April 27, with moments of gratitude, special activities, and giveaways planned to remind us to embrace kindness in our daily lives. It will continue across the Lawrence campus through inauguration day and will use the hashtag #BeKindLU on social media.
Events will include Sunday S’mores with Carter outside of Hamar House, LU Bingo, and a campus scavenger hunt, among other engagement opportunities.
Cole Hepburn, an enrollment fellow, is heading up the kindness initiative, planning kindness outreach—both in person and digitally—over the 17 days.
“17 Days of Kindness is bigger than just being nice to people,” Hepburn said. “It's an initiative to engage with one another through mutual respect and connect with peers you may not even know.”
He hopes the initiative can be a spark that will last well beyond 17 days.
“Moments of kindness can change one’s life even if it’s the smallest step because it can be the biggest impact for someone else,” Hepburn said. “Just start by saying hello.”
Carter, who began her tenure at Lawrence last July, will be inaugurated May 13 as the 17th president since Lawrence was founded in 1847. It comes as the university marks its 175th anniversary.
It also comes more than two years into a COVID-19 pandemic that has rerouted lives and changed many of our daily interactions. Being intentional about embracing kindness within the Lawrence community—including self-care—sets a tone that we need to celebrate one another as we tackle challenges collectively.
Giveaways will include such things as bubble tea gift cards, snow cones, truffles, and ice cream. There will be chances to share favorite kindness quotes on the sidewalks along Main Hall Green and to take part in yoga and tai chi outdoors.
Hepburn said the 17 Days of Kindness initiative speaks to Carter’s belief in the importance of leading with kindness.
“The kindness we demonstrate will inspire us all to think about how our words, thoughts, and deeds impact others, ourselves, and the world,” he said.