New Student Organization Works to Spread Joy and Positivity

Monday, April 09, 2018

UNCW sophomore Victoria Rause believes that a positive attitude can change your life. That’s why she recently founded a new student organization on campus: PERK. PERK, or ‘People Encouraging Random Kindness,’ hopes to teach students how to seek joy in their everyday activities through the incorporation of mindful practices and the spreading of joy to others.

“When I got here last year, I noticed a lot of students were so stressed out. Seeing the struggles that they were going through was really tough,” said Rause. “Even though UNCW does a great job of hosting de-stressing activities, I wanted to create a club that encourages students to do that on their own.”

To help students cope with stress, Rause and PERK plan to do encouraging things for fellow students, like distributing notecards with nice thoughts written on them, passing out candy and practicing living with a positive attitude, all while teaching students to look for opportunities to promote kindness and rethink the way they view their perceived obstacles. According to Rause, these measures have lasting effects that can cause dramatic change and alter the way we look at our world.

“If you decide to look at something negatively, then it’s going to be negative. You have to make the conscious decision to be happy,” Rause said. “My goal is to have people look forward to their days because a lot of the time, it can feel like you just have to get through them. I want people to be excited to wake up and choose to have a good day.”

One of PERK’s first big endeavors as an organization is to establish a large study group during one of the more hectic times on campus, finals week. Rause is hoping the group will help to minimize some stress in a practical and meaningful way, providing students access to a variety of peer experts.

“Everyone is good at something and having a supportive community really helps,” said Rause. “Just being there, studying together, communicating and having people to lean on, it can make a big difference.”

Currently, PERK meets biweekly on Wednesday, but Rause hopes students will see the organization as more of a learning opportunity than as another obligation to add to their already busy schedules.

“I want people to just come out and see what we do and maybe that will change how they look at things. Then, they can spread our message,” said Rause. “Sharing kindness seems like such a simple thing, but you have to think about it. You have to go out of your way and decide to do it.”

-- Christina Schechtman