Two Sophomores Champion MIT's First Random Acts of Kindness Week

Published in MIT News on March 17, 2016, by Sarah Goodman, MindHandHeart Initiative

Proposal funded by the MindHandHeart Innovation Fund set to launch after spring break; new Innovation Fund applications accepted through March.

Free hugs, hot chocolate, compliments, bubbles — anyone walking across campus the first day back from spring break may encounter a small barrage of surprises during the inaugural Random Acts of Kindness Week (RAK) at MIT. With funding from the MindHandHeart Innovation Fund, offices of Minority Education and Dean for Graduate Education, and the Baker Foundation, two sophomores, Bettina Arkhurst and Cory Johnson, have rallied a growing “kindness crew” around them to carry off a campus-wide week of simple, selfless acts from March 28 to April 1.

“We hope RAK Week will be a time for the members of the MIT community — undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and MIT associates — to connect through small acts of kindness,” says Arkhurst, who serves as student chair of MindHandHeart’s connectedness working group.

While organizers have planned a full schedule of RAK Week events, they have intentionally kept the week open to spontaneous low-key, stress-free add-ins. They have asked students, faculty, and staff to participate in RAK Week in any way they see fit. Arkhurst says, “This is the week to pull out the random goodies, giveaways, and thank-you notes. We encourage everyone to step out of their usual routines and reach out to others...."