Kindness week offers an array of options for students

The Suffolk University Peer-health Education Resource (SUPERs) is a group of undergraduate students who interact with students to encourage healthy lifestyles in all aspects of their lives who are currently preparing for kindness week.

The SUPERs program and campaign revolves around health topics that affect college students, like responsible drinking, safe sex practices, nutrition, stress management and others of the sort. What makes them uniquely captivating is that they incorporate an open-minded, non-judgmental approach in their campaigns so that they can establish dialogue and encourage conversation. One such event that is representative of their friendly approach, is the promotional campaigning they are doing throughout kindness week.

Biology major Mari Leclerc, a junior and member of SUPERs, reflecting on past kindness weeks, recalled hosting the event in April.

“The overall point was to get people to stop for a second and remember to be kind to themselves and be kind to others. As students we get so wrapped up in school that we don’t remember to be kind to others,” she said. “When we participated in it last year, we held a program called Sexversation, and had a speaker come in to speak about it.” The program Leclerc is referring to focused on sex and sexual assault awareness amongst students.

SUPERs tabling
(Photo courtesy of SUPERs’ Facebook)

“This year, we’re going to have a bunch of flyers around campus. The flyers will say ‘take what you need: happiness, hugs, love,’ and others of the sort. People can physically rip off what they ‘need.’” This will be a friendly reminder for students to incorporate friendliness and compassion into their daily lives.

Another aspect of kindness week is doing something called “tabling.”  They are going to give out thank you cards that students can write on and give out to their professors, a friend or even someone that has helped them. Promoting compassion is just another way to stay healthy, apart from the physical embodiments of health.

“I think that a lot of times people don’t understand how necessary it is, how important it is to take care of your body,” Leclerc said. “If you’re not healthy you can’t take care of anything else. A lot of what we do is make people aware of something they weren’t aware of before. Maybe the next time someone offers them a cigarette they’ll think twice… the ideas that we share with them will hopefully be percolating in their heads.”

Standing outside of the Sawyer building, what is immediately noticeable is the thick cloud of smoke that forms as a result of the high prevalence of smokers at Suffolk.

On Thursday as a part of kindness week, the SUPERs will  be participating in the Great American Smokeout. Leclerc said the event is intended as a start date for smokers to quit their habit.

“If you don’t smoke, you can help empower others to stop or help stop secondhand smoke. This is definitely a problem [at Suffolk] and we’re doing a lot of stuff around it this week. We like to take the approach of not scaring people out of it, we’re empowering them to realize how much healthier they would be if they chose to quit.”

The Great American Smokeout is an initiative set forth by the American Cancer Society. Held on the third Thursday of every November, it encourages smokers to take a critical step towards leading a healthier life.

Leclerc herself was interested in applying for SUPERs for many reasons.

“I am interested in going into the health field in some capacity, I’m still kind of trying to figure it out,” she said. “At the end of freshman year, I saw that they had open applications and I was interested. I’m passionate about health promotion and getting people to know the resources they have. If they’re struggling with anything, I really like helping people and knowing how different solutions can work for them.”

SUPERs are certified through the BACCHUS network, and participate in regional and in-house trainings so that they can better serve Suffolk students.

For a complete list of the group’s upcoming events, visit its Facebook page or sign up for its newsletters and e-mails if you have a chance to attend any of the kindness week events.