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Spreading Cougar Kindness


One of the random acts of kindness carried about by the group consisting of Leslie Pappoe, Marquis Scott, Ciearra Dalton, Courtney Martin and Sara Jones was to help customers at Food Lion at Ballou Park carry their groceries to their car. They are pictured here with someone they helped.

It's rare in this day and age to speak to complete strangers at the grocery store or the gas station. Imagine being tasked with not just speaking to strangers, but doing something nice for them. That's exactly what happened to this year's resident assistants (RAs). On Aug. 12, Director of Residence Life Marsha Foster sent them out into the community to perform five random acts of kindness in under two hours.

"The Random Acts of Kindness Program is a part of our year long effort to shape community through servant leadership and service learning," Foster said. "We as a residence life staff will be recognizing one Friday a month as Random Act of Kindness Day on campus. On that Friday, each member of residence life is charged with doing one random act of kindness for someone on our campus or in the surrounding community."

Before leaving campus to complete the task, Foster gave them a list of rules that had to be followed. The 11 rules included: not performing a random act of kindness on any member of the Averett faculty, staff or student body; not performing the same act of kindness more than once; not performing different acts of kindness on the same person and counting it more than once; and not taking anything in return for their kindness.

The group made up of Bryan Swann, Donte Johns, Christina Sinnott, Jordan Bresler and Angela Dawson helped customers at Sam's Club load their purchases into their car.
Sophomore Cari Beck, senior Courtney Martin and senior Christina Sinnot are serving as resident assistants for the first time this year. Their day of performing random acts of kindness was actually the first day they were together as a group. "I got to meet and interact with people I hadn't met before," said Beck, a Fugate RA.

"Initially, I wondered where we were going to find people at 5:30," said Sinnot, an RA in the Commons Apartments. Beck was worried about coming up with things that wouldn't take long.

"I was nervous about going into the community," said Martin, a Fugate Hall RA. "It was a challenge, but by the end it was fun."

"At first I think we scared people," Martin said. Sinnot agreed. "All of us jumping out of a van was probably a bit overwhelming, but once we explained what we were doing they were receptive."

Beck noted that for her group, mentioning they were with Averett brought a positive reaction from those they helped. "They were really nice; and it was great because we were able to put a good name out there for Averett."

The groups performed a variety of acts including giving a homeless man juice, crackers and cookies and praying for him; taking trays to the trash at Hardee's and Chick-fil-A; tipping a greeter at Applebee's; visited Stratford House where they ran into Happy Slayton, a former Board of Trustee member; helped load groceries into cars at Food Lion, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart; pumped gas at Marathon; washed car windows at Sheetz; and picked up trash around garbage cans at Sonic.

All three RAs enjoyed the experience of helping people with small tasks and look forward to "paying it forward" throughout the year.

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