Bear hugs for all

By Charles Taylor & Azure Wedan
Staff Writer & Managing Editor

Photo by Chukwuka John | The Brookhaven Bear embraces a student on Free Hugs and Kisses Day Feb. 14

The exceeding popularity of social media sites suggests that we are a people connected to each other. However, in the midst of the daily grind, it’s common practice to breeze by one another without even a smile or hello. That growing distance is exactly what Brookhaven College’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office is trying to counteract by hosting Random Acts of Kindness Month, which runs through March 7.

“Kindness is the chain that binds people together,” Chukwuka John, Community Engagement Advocate and driving force behind the project, said.

Events held on campus, such as the Service Agency Fair Feb. 13, encourage students to get involved with serving others. As part of the Random Acts of Kindness Month, the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office declared Valentine’s Day as Free Hugs and Kisses Day. Students, staff and faculty alike participated by wrapping their arms around the campus mascot, the Brookhaven Bear, and receiving a free Hershey’s Kiss candy.

Along with the free hugs event, the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office has created a space on the Brookhaven College Service Hub’s Facebook page for people to sound off and post their random acts so they can be celebrated. Raking a neighbor’s yard, donating school supplies and buying a hungry student a pizza at Subway are some examples of the posts shared on the page. Students, staff and faculty can visit and join the Random Acts of Kindness Month event on the page to post details about how they have served.

Random Acts of Kindness month is the latest in a series of events that bring students together to serve. Andrew Deibert, Brookhaven College Service- Learning and Civic Engagement Coordinator, said Random Acts of Kindness Month is an example of one of the initiatives students form every semester. The mission is to pass the kindness on, according to the Service Hub page, and to encourage others to pass it along as well.

Specific ways the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office is asking students to help include donating non-perishable foods to the campus food pantry, donating new or used college textbooks or giving any type of school supplies that might help a struggling fellow college student. Donations are being accepted at the Office of Student Life, S201.