The new way to pay it forward

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In today’s world of terrorism, fear mongering, genocides, school shootings and countless other violent acts, the future seems bleak and pessimistic. However, there is some hope.

This hope comes in the form of concrete action, and in particular, through random acts of kindness.

April 24 is, according to the UVM Department of Student Life, Random Acts of Kindness Day. While there was no evidence to support this day as an international holiday, who’s to say that UVM simply cannot declare its own day to hand out slushies, hot dogs, massages and ice cream for free?

If you missed out on these completely sporadic, “random” acts of kindness organized all over campus on Thursday, fear not. It is an annual tradition you can look forward to next year.

Several fortunate recipients of the beef hot dogs (is it really ALL beef?) were asked if the gift actually encouraged them to pass along an act of kindness. The responses varied from the self-righteous, “I do [random acts of kindness] all the time” (friends of Rajive Anand: is this true?) to the grateful, “Free food is always nice” from sophomore Emily Piccone.

Other responses filled in this grand spectrum of varied feelings. Sophomore Derek Angel took a resentful approach, claiming; “You just see it as free food. We pay to go here, so they’re giving us food for a day.”

Well, to all the pessimists out there: a better, more positive world starts with the little things.

Random Acts of Kindness Day, as declared by UVM, is just one example of a marked attempt to make the world a better place. You, too, can engage in all sorts of these little acts and make someone’s day brighter.

Remember that sad movie “Pay It Forward”? Well, embrace it; pay forward all the good that’s been done to you.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (it’s actually a legit non-profit) makes it their mission to spread happiness.

A few things that they suggest for the average person can be easily incorporated into your life.

– Say “good morning” to the person you see every day who would least expect it (give the custodians some love!)

– Handwrite a letter to your grandmother or favorite elementary school teacher.

– Hold the door open for a stranger and actually make eye contact.

– Donate some old clothes (there’s a big yellow box at the Mobil station on Pearl Street that gladly accepts used items).

– Pick up some trash in your neighborhood (Spring cleanup!).

– Stop for pedestrians or let a car go ahead of you (Vermont traffic gets pretty bad in the afternoons).

We all want to live in a better world, so it’s up to us to make it that way. Try to make it your mission to do something lovely every day. It can never hurt to accrue good karma.