March is Month of Kindness on campus

While elected officials often try, real cultural change starts with individual actions.

The University formally designates March as the Month of Kindness in an effort to promote respect and decency throughout the community. Students, staff and faculty members take part in events, such as a run to raise money for cystic fibrosis research and a male beauty pageant to support spring break trips centered on good deeds.

This important work deserves every bit of support members of the community can muster. While books and lectures can enrich our lives in immeasurable ways, no education is complete without a lesson or two in kindness.

Promoting goodwill and decency will strike some as a no-brainer. For others, the Month of Kindness borders on cheeky. Maybe so. But it’s also one of the most important ways to improve everyday quality of life.

Cynics do not have to go far to find reasons to be disillusioned. Modern-day life excels at grinding ideals down to size. As the pace of life quickens and responsibilities multiply, our sense of community is apt to fall by the wayside.

That’s especially so at a place as big as the University. Most students are here four to five years and then move on. Many of those students spend only a fraction of their time on campus. Maintaining a friendly environment and a sense of community under such conditions is not easy.

Building a better society is a job that too often has been outsourced to elected leaders. There is no denying issues such as Social Security reform, affordable health care and a strong education system have a deep impact on social welfare. But so does a healthy dose of politeness and an enduring ethic of compassion.

No piece of legislation will make drivers less aggressive or strangers friendlier. No bipartisan bill can force people to hold doors or say, “Hello.” Those are challenges best met from the ground up.

There will be no shortage of charitable opportunities throughout this month. With any luck, worthy causes, such as a cure for cystic fibrosis, will benefit from a surge in charitable giving. We hope the Month of Kindness also helps compassion take root throughout the community.