During the fall semester of 2012, several anonymous University of Alberta students thought creatively and then acted on their excellent idea, creating something that has brought smiles to thousands of students across campus. If you haven’t seen it so far, U of A Compliments is a rapidly-growing initiative with a simple mission: to spread love around campus by providing a safe place for you to appreciate friends, professors, staff, and fellow peers anonymously. We sent several questions to the U of A Compliments team, with their responses featured below. Enjoy, and make sure to friend them on Facebook and participate in the great new initiative before the week ends.
1. To start, what was the reason, the inspiration, for beginning U of A Compliments?
In truth, starting a compliments page was not our original plan. We initially wanted to start an antibullying campaign in response to the bullying that has been occurring in schools, the media, and especially online. However, after a few months of discussing our plans, we realized we were stuck. How can we create something that will change the way people act towards one another, gain popularity, and most importantly, spread love and positivity to those who need it the most? This was when we stumbled upon a couple of “Compliments” pages from different universities. The idea was perfect! We were so excited and inspired by this movement that we had to bring it to the U of A. Hopefully, through UofA Compliments, we can create a stronger sense of community and reach our goal of everyone feeling loved and accepted. Never doubt the power of a few kind words!
2. You haven’t been around long, but I assume that you have received some positive feedback from readers. What are some examples of what others have said?
Yes! The support has been amazing.
I love your page, great concept! Keep up the good work!
Hey whoever started this up, amazing stuff. This is one of the best things that’s happened at the U of A over the last year. Keep it up!
This is a fantabulous idea. Thanks so much for everything!
Thanks for doing this – it’s really an amazing initiative!
Great to see this kind of group with positive thoughts, especially during the stressful exam season.
Job well done, I’m glad that we have something raising the spirits of our students, and reminding them that they are amazing. Thank you for taking the initiative!
That is wonderful! I hope that we will see a significant improvement in the atmosphere at the U of A.
You are doing an amazing thing by setting this page up. I think it is going to get huge!
3. Can you talk about two posts on the U of A Compliments page that really resonate with you?
That’s a hard one. We’ve been excited to share every post because they’re all so heartwarming. But if we had to choose, we love the ones that come out of the blue, the ones that maybe we normally wouldn’t say on a regular day. There is something special about strangers reaching out to strangers. Here’s a great example:
“He’s not from campus, but to the LRT driver who makes random announcements to his passengers, thank you for being awesome. You make so many people smile.”
4. I’ve seen that UBC has its own Compliments Facebook page going. Do you foresee this movement spreading across the country?
Absolutely! It has already spread so far, from Queen’s to UBC, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and McGill to name a few. Hopefully, this movement will go beyond university campuses. We don’t see a reason why others can’t join in as well!
5. How does U of A Compliments relate to the increasing discussions about mental health on university campuses?
We hope this page offers a small solution to such a demanding issue. Whether it is from stress, depression, family issues, or bullying, we know that life as a student can be difficult. It is during these times when a little positivity can make a big difference. We believe that UofA Compliments has the potential to deliver a little love and happiness, especially when it matters most.
6. Do you have any goals for U of A Compliments over the upcoming semester?
For starters, we would like to expand. Most “Compliments” pages have well over 3000 followers by now. We are currently at 900, so 3000 seems a reasonable goal for this semester. However, aside from numbers, our main goal is to change the culture on campus. It may seem like a stretch for a simple Facebook page, but social media has immense capabilities. Eventually, we hope that UofA Compliments will become a part of every student’s life, that each has connected to it in some way. We want to help create a community where people go beyond their group of friends to show love and appreciation to everyone around them.
Remember to participate with U of A Compliments here. A few small positive words can go quite a long way.
CC photograph courtesy of Flickr, found here.