Five BYU public relations seniors started the social media campaign “Find the Kind” to promote civility on college campuses through small acts of service.
The group launched its Instagram account on Feb. 4 and will run the campaign through March 4. The Instagram account gives followers challenges to show kindness and shares uplifting personal stories. The seniors also plan to have a blackboard on campus where students can share ideas for showing compassion.
“We’re making it very simple for people,” said campaign social media coordinator Mariam Shockey. “We want people to find the kind daily but in a simple way.”
Social media coordinator Peyton Payne said she saw a lack of civility in the world, which sparked the idea for the campaign. “People have forgotten how to be kind,” she said. “People are very self-focused, and so our whole campaign started from that.”
The campaign’s audiences are college students and working professionals. It aims to provide safe ways to show kindness on campuses, in workplaces and in society, account executive Marisa Johns said.
The “Find the Kind” campaign title was chosen by the group members as a way to help students be proactive. In addition to Johns, Shockey and Payne, the group also includes Madi Wickham and Tyler Erickson.
Johns said the group sent out a survey on civility before launching the campaign. Of the 267 responses, 97% said more kindness is needed today. The survey demonstrated to Johns that although the world can be a dark place, there are people who want to promote goodness.
Kindness is especially important during the pandemic when people are physically farther apart, Johns said. She hoped the campaign would help give people a sense of closeness even while socially distanced.
One kindness story shared on the campaign Instagram page features BYU medical laboratory science sophomore Stephanie Shakespaere.
She shared her difficulty with school and mental health since coming to BYU and how a professor’s act of kindness helped her. Her Spanish professor pulled her aside, asked her if she was okay and told Shakespaere to come to her with any problems in the future.
Another campaign goal is to give people an introspective view of themselves so they can better understand other viewpoints. “I think the main thing is people needing to find the kindness within themselves but also look outside of themselves,” Shockey said.
The group plans to have a diversity and opinion meeting through Zoom where students with opposite worldviews will discuss their beliefs until both sides come to an understanding.
“In order to be civil, you need to have a kind heart so that you are more understanding of people who aren’t like you or have different opinions,” Shockey said.