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A member of Extra Special People hugs a volunteer at the Be Bold Bash in Athens, Georgia, on April 8, 2018. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rac86114@uga.edu)

The phrase “treat others how you want to be treated” is often overused. The mentality that everyone should treat everyone with kindness has been hammered into our heads since we were in elementary school, and we were told that “sharing is caring.” However, kindness is not overrated, nor should it be neglected on college campuses.

Like a domino effect, kindness spreads from one person to the next. This is the main focus behind Karma Coffee, a student organization at the University of Georgia.

Jaren Mendel, a senior accounting major from Atlanta, is the president and founder of Karma Coffee. Mendel started the organization in November of 2015 to encourage kindness on campus. The organization is based on the pay it forward movement, where students will be nice to someone and hopefully cause a chain reaction of kindness.

“I wanted to inspire people to be more considerate in a cool and unique way,” Mendel said.

Karma Coffee is an organization that gives out free coffee to UGA students in exchange for an act of kindness. When students pick up their free coffee, they can also pick up a slip of paper with a suggested act of kindness. The acts are small, like giving a stranger a hug or telling someone a joke. Despite being small, these acts can make a big impact on making a person’s day better.

“I feel like in our society, a lot of people imagine kindness as charity and giving your time and money to people, and I feel like it can be way more simple than that. It doesn’t have to take you two hours or $100 to be kind,” said Claudia Edgar, a senior cellular biology major from Columbus and vice president of Karma Coffee.

The possibilities to be kind at UGA are endless. You can have meaningful conversations with people rather than sticking with surface level topics. You can ask how someone’s day is going and actually listening to and caring about their response.

“One of my favorite acts of kindness that we suggest is leaving encouraging notes around your dorm or hallway or apartment, wherever you live, for your roommates or strangers,” Edgar said.

Acts of kindness hide everywhere around campus, whether walking through Tate, riding an Orbit bus or eating in Bolton Dining Commons. Edgar mentioned why Karma Coffee’s main mission is encouraging kindness.

“If everyone was cranky and in a bad mood all the time, that would be a horrible society to live in. We think simple genuine kindness is the best way to avoid that,” Edgar said.  

In an effort to improve the culture of kindness on campus, find unique ways to promote positivity. Society will be better for it.

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