Question of the Day

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

Author: Ashley Benedict

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Though we should engage in acts of kindness 365 days a year, the reality is that most of us don’t. We don’t buy lunch for our friends, donate blood, or donate to charity every day. Today, however, is a day we can use as an excuse to show some kindness towards the people in our life (or, even better, those who aren’t). It’s always nice to be on the receiving end of someone else’s kindness, but it also feels good to be the one giving. Here are some things you can do to brighten someone’s day and show some kindness today (and every day):

1. Smile at a stranger.

This is the simplest – and perhaps most awkward – thing you can do. But hey, you never know if they’ll smile back, or if your smile will end up making their day just a little bit better.


2. Give a genuine compliment.

Tell someone you like their shirt, or pants, or shoes. Tell your friends how great they look. Tell your coworkers how rockin’ they look every day. Shower your significant other with compliments. I know I always feel good when people compliment me. Spread the love.


3. Offer to buy lunch for a friend

Obviously, if you’re tight on cash, don’t feel obligated to show kindness through purchases. But if you have plans with a friend today, perhaps offer to cover them, and maybe they’ll return the favor someday. Kindness is contagious. Even better, reach out to your local homeless community and buy hot meal or two. Even a small coffee would likely be appreciated.

4. Make a donation

Most organizations love and life off of donations. Check in with some local non-profits to see what kind of items they look for and often need. Here on GVSU’s campus, Replenish is a great place to start if you find yourself wanting to donate.

Replenish hours of operation: Monday through Thursday 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday 1 p.m. -3 p.m.; Kirkhof Center room 0074-lower level

Donations are accepted on site at Replenish or at the Women’s Center during open hours. Off-campus entities can request someone pick up their donations by contacting the Women’s Center at 616-331-2748 or Donations may be in the form of perishable and non-perishable food items, gift cards to local grocery stores, or a monetary donation. Donations are tax-deductible and the donor will be provided with a receipt from University Development reflecting their contribution. Some of the items that are most popular include laundry detergent, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, canned chicken/tuna, pasta, soup, granola bars, and feminine hygiene products.

5. Donate blood

If you find you have an extra few hours today, perhaps drop by a local blood bank and offer to donate blood. There is a national need for blood donations every day (every 2 seconds, actually), and knowing that you’ll be helping someone out there and potentially saving a life is as good enough a reason as any to go out and take the time to donate. Blood banks often run out of type O and B blood. Do you have one of those blood types? Your donation would be especially appreciated. Go to to find some donation centers or blood drives near you. GVSU also has multiple blood drives coming up, so be sure to check those out!

6. Hold the door or elevator open for someone

For most of us, this is a common courtesy we do subconsciously every day. However, try to do it every time you open a door or ride an elevator today. Those around you will appreciate it, and it often leads to them doing the same for other people! If the person is super far away though, things may get awkward. Hold the door open at your own risk of becoming a door stop.


7. Pay it forward.

Like previously stated, don’t feel obligated to do this if you’re tight on money. But it’s always a nice surprise to find that someone has paid for your coffee or movie, and again, it often leads to a chain of people doing the same.

8. Call a loved one

A lot of students live on campus, and may not be able to see their loved ones as often as they would like. If you’re one of those students, try to set aside some time today to call up some family members and let them know how much you care about and appreciate them. They won’t be expecting it, and I guarantee it’ll make their day to hear from you.

9. Ask if you can help

If you see someone on or off campus struggling with something, it can never hurt to ask whether or not they would like some help. Most people will probably appreciate the extended offer, and if they take it, it’ll feel nice to know that you’ve done something for another person with no external reward.


10. Volunteer

Perhaps the most important thing you can do, if you have the time, is volunteer. Come to the Women’s Center and ask about organizations we work with, and how/when you can help. Call up some local non-profits and see when they need volunteers and the kinds of duties they complete. A lot of organizations tend to rely on volunteers, and it’s always nice for them to see people taking an interest in their work.


The great thing about all of these ideas are that they are small things you can do any day of the year. Make a habit out of extending kindness to others and engaging in random acts of kindness. If we all tried to focus on those around us a bit more, I think our society could be a lot more empathetic and compassionate. Find more information on the website:

What kind of random acts of kindness do you do on the daily? Which ones do you plan to do in the future? How do you feel when you do something kind for others? Or when others do something kind for you? Let us know! Submit personal stories, essays, and more to


A Collection of Poems by The Women’s Center Ambassadors

Authors: Women’s Center Ambassadors


Women and children are apart of us.

It angers me when I think of them being touched,

physically, emotionally, and mentally, it destroys their soul,

causing me rage that burns us all.

We must stop the pain, power and control.


Do we think of how they feel?

Do you know the damage you’ve done?

Pain runs deep, soul untied,

a new feeling unfound,

hurt built deep within.


Exhausted from the constant abuse,

no way of expressing their truth

they give up the fight.

The feeling of being unheard.

Who wins when abused?

– Lexus Patterson



There is more to the cosmos

but, instead, you insist on shooting this average Joe.

He has all of the power and control,

oppressive state of AmeriKKKa


It truly pisses me off that this is pushed on people.

We have to believe in this because this is what we are taught.

It is time to revert our eyes

and open our minds.


Consciousness is key for survival.

Survival for both humans, animals, and the universe.

She is God.

– Jaedah Pickens



American Health

Pre-existing condition denials.

Skyrocketing prices for care.

Less life.

More death.


Money over everything.

Life saving medicine 300x too expensive.

Less altruism.

More death.


Greed. Devastation. Destruction.

Blindness to corruption.

We prolong breaths at what cost?

More death.


Death to our humanity.

– Draya Garrett



Clean Water for Everyone

They say the lead levels in Flint have finally met levels of acceptability,

but our children continue to seize and go blind.

Houses left dry, with no source of clean drinking water;

it has been poisoned by the government’s greed.


They say that the President is going through with the Dakota Access Pipeline,

so the water protectors continue to hold the resistance lines, as they have since April 2016.

Water cannons and rubber bullets fall upon them, yet still they stand in freezing

temperatures, a formidable force, while here I am, comfortable indoors.


They say that we are overreacting, that our movements and protests will never work,

while they forge armies against shivering citizens and plant poison in our children.

They think we don’t need clean water, as they fill their pockets with green,

and our people are left with the consequences.

– Ashley Benedict

Let’s Rethink That Movie Date Tonight…

Author: Ashley Benedict


For those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day with your partner tonight, perhaps rethink going to see Fifty Shades Darker (the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey). Instead, here are a list of good movies out right now that would be better worth your money:

  • Moana
  • Hidden Figures
  • Sing
  • La La Land
  • Collateral Beauty
  • Rogue One
  • Fences

Rivertown Crossings showing times | Woodland showing times


And always remember: CONSENT IS KEY. If you do end up going to see Fifty Shades Darker tonight, please go in knowing that it’s a completely inaccurate portrayal of BDSM and depicts an abusive relationship. Please don’t take relationship advice from a poorly written book series, I beg of you. If your partner says ‘no’ tonight, don’t pull a Christian Grey. Be a decent human being and respect their boundaries. No means no.

And for us single people, here are some good Netflix shows/movies to watch:

  • Clueless
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Mona Lisa Smile
  • Jessica Jones
  • Middle of Nowhere
  • For A Good Time, Call

(Really, just watch whatever you want. Throw on your pajamas and enjoy being comfortable for the night. Single life rocks.)

Hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day is filled with love, and more importantly, consent!

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Author: Ashley Benedict


Along with Black History Month, February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Approximately 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. experience physical abuse from their partner. 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. It is due to these numbers that abuse in teen relationships is such an important conversation.

What is teen dating violence?

Teen dating violence is “defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenaged dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital. TDV occurs across diverse groups and cultures.” Though this definition is essentially the same as domestic violence in adult relationships, teen dating violence is different in the forms it can take as well as the experiences of the victims. It’s also far more challenging to seek resources as well as provide them in situations such as this.

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