Snapshots of kindness

It's time to keep eyes and hearts open for the warmth and kindness students display toward each other.

The Wellness team at UB is inviting students, from now until March 20, to seek out and record these daily acts of kindness in a photograph to be entered for a contest called "Snapshots of Service: Caught in the Act of Kindness."

Every spring, the Mental Health Awareness Committee, part of the Student Wellness Team, holds an annual contest, which in the past, has been a writing contest focusing on different themes. This year, the committee brainstormed a new and creative contest idea that encourages students to not only think and write about helping others but motivates students to go out within the UB community and interact with each other to realize, appreciate and celebrate the good within everyone.

Acts of kindness include volunteerism, kind gestures, helping another person and something a student witnessed in certain activities such as during alternative break programs or a picture taken years ago. The photo submissions must be accompanied by a brief description explaining the act of kindness.

"[Snapshots of service will] force students to think about what effects certain acts of kindness or contributions have had on them because they have either been the recipient or have witnessed the acts themselves," said Dr. Amanda Tyson-Ryba, a psychologist at the counseling center at UB and member of the Mental Health Awareness Committee. "This will boost mental health and lead one to living a healthier lifestyle."

Tyson-Ryba believes this program will show students the impacts their behavior has on others and will help students be aware that students are all very connected individuals and it does make a difference when they contribute to one another.

A set of judges of about eight to 10 people, all from different offices on campus including but not limited to Counseling Services, Wellness Education Services, Health Services, Nursing, Visual Studies and Counseling, School and Educational Psychology (CSEP) will judge the submissions. The photos will be posted on the Student Wellness Team website to allow students to vote for a people's choice winner.

The winner will be awarded $250. Second place receives $100 and third place receives $50.