Spreading Kindness Far and Wide

Published in MIT News on July 19, 2017, by Maisie O'Brien, MindHandHeart Initiative

Rising senior Bettina Arkhurst, founder of Random Acts of Kindness Week, is making a better world here at MIT.

Bettina Arkhurst comes from a large, tight-knit family. Her relatives hail from across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Ghana. They fly to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and family reunions, and support one another during difficult times. 

Coming to MIT, Arkhurst quickly settled in and made friends, but she worried about her classmates who lacked the strong social ties she had always known and valued. “I felt there was a need for more empathy and connection on campus,” she said. “If someone didn’t find a friend group or feel a sense of belonging in their classes, then their college experience could be isolating, and MIT is not a place to go through alone.”

During her sophomore year, Arkhurst joined the MindHandHeart Initiative as a co-chair in the Connectedness Working Group, and worked alongside fellow students, faculty, and staff members on projects to make MIT a healthier, more welcoming place. 

“It was serendipitous how MindHandHeart was just beginning and I had been thinking of starting a program to positively impact our campus culture,” she said. “The goals of MindHandHeart aligned with my belief that peoples’ well-being needs to be a top priority in our academic, residential, and social environments...”

Read the complete article