Get to Know an Organization: Crimson Kindness brightens the spirits of UA StudentsBy Alejandra Tenorio | 11/30/2015 10:30pm
Photo courtesy of Rachel Bower.
Rachel Bower, like many other high school seniors, found herself at a crossroads when it came to deciding which college she wanted to attend. Knowing she did not want to stay in her home state, she narrowed down her options to two schools: Auburn University and The University of Alabama.
Thinking she was going to love Auburn, Bower recalls just how close her family came to canceling her scheduled tour at the University. Though, Bower along with her family decided to stick to the original plan -- to tour the grounds many students, generation after generation, have called home.
It was her encounter with two different students at the Capstone that drew her to the University, ultimately helping her realize that Alabama was the perfect fit for her.
“Before the tour started, we were trying to park our car in the Ferg parking garage, but the machine would not take our dollar bills.” Bower said. “A student saw that my family was struggling and swiped his ACT card to let us in. I was absolutely amazed at that act of kindness because he did not even know us.”
Bower went on to add, “Then on the walk to the building, we got lost and had to ask for directions. The student we asked went above and beyond and actually walked with us to make sure we would find it.”
Fast forward three years, Bower, who once chose Alabama for its students’ kindness and attentiveness, is now president of Crimson Kindness, an organization dedicated to creating a selfless community at the University by performing and encouraging acts of service and generosity.
With team meetings held every other Sunday through Thursday at 7 p.m., members are able to come together to work on activities that will bring awareness and spread Crimson Kindness’ message around campus as well as giving members the opportunity to become friends with one another.
Along with small team activities, Crimson Kindness also hosts larger kindness projects and events -- allowing both members of the organization and the student body to come together and interact with one another.
“It's easy to fall into the mindset that you're on your own in your education and that the world isn't going to do you any favors,” William Hudson Durley, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, said. “But when you find some change left on a vending machine or some encouraging words on the pavement, it turns your perspective upside down and makes you appreciate the random people around you."
Each semester, the organization hosts one of its most popular events called “Posters of Kindness,” an activity where members write motivational, inspiring, and uplifting phrases on giant posters and hold them up around campus for people to see.
“I felt awkward about doing this event the first time, but the responses were amazing,” Bower said.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80 percent of college students say they’ve experienced daily stress, either frequently or sporadically. Thirty-four percent having felt depressed at some point within the past three months. It’s why motivational posters that say “just keep swimming” and “it will get better” along with many other short phrases are extremely important to a college community.
“There were so many people who walked by and said thanks or gave me a huge smile. Some other people even bought coffee or Chick-fil-A for some of my members holding signs because they loved the posters so much,” Bower said.
Morgan Olive, a senior majoring in secondary education social science, first joined Crimson Kindness in the fall of her junior year. For her, it was the chalk writing Crimson Kindness is so widely known for that first attracted her to the organization.
“It amazed me that there was an anonymous organization dedicated to being nice,” Olive said. “[Crimson Kindness] genuinely just wants to make peoples' days brighter and that's what people need. People need care and that's what CK does.”
As president, Bower has a very simple ambition for her organization.
“If one person is inspired by us, and then he or she goes off and does something nice for someone else, then I would say that we were successful,” Bower said.
With a new semester quickly approaching, Bower looks ahead at what the future holds for the organization, in potential new leadership positions, planning of new events, and what they are working on in the spring.
“I can’t wait for Random Acts of Kindness Week during February 14-20 of next semester. I won’t tell you what all we are doing but we have some exciting, new events in the works,” Bower said.