Our KIND of Stetson Week, Feb. 10-17 

It all began in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic brought additional stress and anxiety for many Americans, including on the Stetson campus. Given those struggles, Stetson’s Student Counseling Services sought to do something special to encourage kindness at Stetson during national Random Acts of Kindness Week, Feb. 14-20, of that year. 

To try to help, the counseling center connected with Nora Lewis, associate director, People Operations, and other partners on campus. With Lewis coordinating, the group developed a special motto for the week: “Our KIND of Stetson with one goal: to make KINDness contagious across the university.” 

Nora Lewis

The idea caught on, and now Our KIND of Stetson is a cross-campus initiative led by a small but committed group of representatives from Campus Life and Student Success, Athletics, Development and Alumni Engagement, the President’s office, and People Operations/HR.

This year, the result is a week of fun activities, Feb. 10-17, that creates opportunities for students and employees to celebrate the “kindness within our community — and encourage even more of it.” 

“I would say reflecting on the kindness within Stetson is a really big part of it,” Lewis explained. “Kindness is who we are as a community. It’s how we communicate, collaborate and support each other.”

On Monday and Tuesday, for example, students, faculty and staff will be signing a banner, writing the names of students, employees, organizations, departments or locations where they have witnessed kindness.

Also, there will be new swag to give away, including stickers, kindness cards, keychains and other items. There will be women’s and men’s basketball games with free white OurKINDofStetson T-shirts to the first 100 students in attendance. Plus, much more is planned, including a special lunchtime menu on Tuesday, Feb. 13, presented by Chartwells in the Commons). 

An old campus tradition is making a return, too. In years past, an organization called Varsity would celebrate everyone who wore green on Fridays as a way of encouraging unity and Hatter pride. Some students are looking to reignite the organization, and they will launch Go Green Friday on Feb. 16. To mark the launch, everyone is encouraged to wear green of Friday (any shade will do). 

Notably, even before President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD, took office on campus in July 2020, kindness was among his chief themes for Stetson. And, in his introductory speech, he said: “Kindness not only matters, it enables us to listen, to engage with others unlike ourselves and to consider paths we forge together to make our community, in fact, the world, a better place.” 

The coming week, in essence, represents a week to listen, engage and move forward together. 

“The initiative is all year round,” concluded Lewis, “and people should find different opportunities to acknowledge kindness, share kindness and spread kindness. But this Our KIND of Stetson Week is an extra special opportunity to appreciate and celebrate our special KIND community.”

-Michael Candelaria