Random Acts of Kindness

As part of its mission to raise awareness around mental health issues at MIT, the MindHandHeart Initiative cosponsored MIT’s first Random Acts of Kindness Week (RAK) in early spring 2016. RAK is the brainchild of sophomores Bettina Arkhurst and Cory Johnson; the two undergraduates saw a need for an event that would create a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff, and also generate awareness for the wealth of support resources available on campus. “We mainly want to make everyone’s day a little brighter during one of the toughest times of the academic year,” says Arkhurst. “We hope people will be able to form lasting connections during this week and remember to look out for each other.”

The inaugural Random Acts of Kindness Week included an open house at Student Support Services, a community-wide open-mic night called “Let’s Talk About It” where community members spoke candidly about the struggles they’ve faced at MIT, and a DIY RAK Hack Day with everyone on campus encouraged to go out of their way and do something nice for someone else. Volunteers distributed flowers and goody bags across campus throughout the week, encouraging recipients to pass them on to others. “This is the week to pull out the random goodies, giveaways, and thank-you notes,” says Arkhurst. “We encourage everyone to step out of their usual routines and reach out to others.”