With midterms on the horizon, the Hilltop is a more stressful and competitive place than usual (and, as you know, it’s usually pretty stressful and competitive…) It’s sometimes hard for us to take a step back and think about how we can brighten the days of the people around us. Craig Cassey (COL ’15) is leading the Georgetown branch of the initiative entitled “26 Acts of Kindness” that has been sweeping the nation. We at The Fourth Edition got the chance to sit down and talk to him about his plans for #26Acts on The Hilltop.
So, what exactly is 26 Acts and how did it begin?
26 Acts of Kindness is a nationwide campaign started by Ann Curry, [who] speaks on behalf of CBS News. She was covering the Newtown shooting and sent out the now-famous tweet and that is the tweet that initiated the entire movement. So people saw that and started using the hashtag “#26Acts” and posting images of them doing good deeds: buying coffee for people behind them, giving homeless individuals shelter or food, so it really took over. The reason behind it is, “What better way to honor these victims of the Newtown shooting than to do a good deed in each of their names.”
How did you personally get involved with 26 Acts?
I think after an act of violence like the Newtown shooting, a lot of people are left [wondering] what they can do or what difference could they have made, and I think the best of going about that is taking the first step forward, which is by helping other people. I feel like [many people] at Georgetown would be very interested in picking it up and joining the ad campaign if they knew what it was.
And so how do you intend to bring 26 Acts to the Hilltop?
The first part [includes] a very visual campaign, just to get the word out there. Because who doesn’t want to do a good deed, first off, but the thing is that not everyone knows about it. So you’ll see a lot of images in Red Square, we’re going to be posting flyers around the entire campus with the faces and the positive obituaries of all the victims and one good deed you can do to honor that person. So we’ll also be promoting a lot of service projects throughout the next two weeks [tomorrow to next Sunday]. Running club has a running session on Wednesday where you run with the homeless and help them cultivate a better life, and along with that, we intend on promoting smaller good deeds. Just little things that can build up your spirit and help you start your day on the right foot.
How do you think this can affect the Georgetown community, what do you think it can bring to this school?
I think it could definitely bring a stronger recognition of the positive energy we have at Georgetown. A lot of times Georgetown students are focused on the bigger picture like saving the world or helping provide aid to those in Haiti or Africa. We may forget the good that we can do for each other as Georgetown students, so we hope to re-energize the student body and hopefully support them in being kinder to their neighbors and to their professors by fostering community.
What is one of your favorite #26Acts stories you’ve heard or seen?
One of my favorites was recently posted on the 26 Acts Facebook page. This one man bought the five people behind him drinks in line at a coffee shop, and then every time that person went up to get a drink they read this little script saying that [this drink] has been paid for for you in honor of this movement. And then they too bought the drinks for the person behind them. And so this man started this long train of good deeds [that lasted] for about an hour and a half. So, talk about refreshing that people would jump on so quickly to move forward with that.
Do you have any specific role models in your own life that inspire you to do things like this?
I would say the movie “Pay It Forward,” which has a lot of similarities with the 26 Acts movement, it was so inspirational to me when I first saw it when I was twelve. The belief that people could make that a reality. I’m also going to say Kyla McClure is a great example because she always does such a good job reaching out to people and doing her own good deeds for others, no matter what day it is. Whether we have a 26 Acts of Kindness campaign going on or not.
Do you have anything to ask of our readers?
I hope that they participate in 26 Acts of Kindness, always support big service projects and things like that, but the real motivation behind this movement is getting people to do the small things as well: giving your neighbor a hug or giving someone who is [feeling] down a smile. And also, if they could just jump on board in any way possible and tell their friends. They can find out more information at our Facebook page, where they can find updates and more information and can post photos of their good deeds.