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New campus club spreads ‘kiNDness’

| Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The new semester welcomes to campus the new student organization, kiND Club, which focuses on performing random acts of kindness and spreading positive affirmations.

“The overarching goal for the club is to create an infectious display of kindness on campus and in the community. … We want to use the concept of kindness to help, heal and educate,” Stephanie Gaal, assistant professional specialist in the Physical Education and Wellness Department, said.

Gaal was instrumental in starting the club, which is a division of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. She proposed the idea to students in one of her Contemporary Topics classes last semester. Sophomore Elaine Schmidt, who now serves as the club’s president, was one of the first students to show interest and participate in kiND’s official founding.

“We’re really just people that want to get together to do nice things for others,” Schmidt said. “Taking a few minutes each day to do something nice for someone else keeps you centered and helps you remember what’s really important in life.”

Before attaining full club status last spring, kiND organizers wrote positive affirmations on Post It notes and placed them on dining hall trays for their first random act of kindness, or RAK, Schmidt said. The club also posted flyers in the Hesburgh Library with tear-away strips of encouraging words during finals week.

After receiving 319 sign-ups from Activities Night, Schmidt said kiND is ready to take it to the next level this school year. The club will host meetings every other Thursday at 8 p.m., during which they will plan regular, communal RAKs. Schmidt said they could be as simple as giving compliments in classes or as elaborate as a campus-wide flash mob dance to brighten people’s day. She said one of kiND’s first RAKs of the semester is planned for Wednesday.

“This is really a grassroots club,” Schmidt said. “The members will have a big say in the kinds of events and RAKs we do, which is something that is really cool about our club. Everyone can contribute.”

Gaal said the club is also planning a fundraiser with Notes to Self, a company that designs socks with positive affirmations written on them. The company was founded by Schmidt’s mother.

“At Notre Dame, we are so busy. It’s nice to take a breath and remember what’s most important,” senior Sarah Very, who recently joined the club, said. “We can make a difference through acts of kindness, and it’s good to have something to remind us.”

The next kiND Club meeting will be held Sept. 25 in a to-be-determined room in Debartolo Hall. Students interested can e-mail kind@nd.edu to join the listserv and “like” the club Facebook page to stay up-to-date on organized RAKs.

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