MEDIA, Pa. — Brandywine’s talented student-athletes recently applied their quick-thinking skills and energy to a different kind of sport: acts of kindness.
During the fall semester, the Brandywine athletics department hosted “Acts of Kindness Week,” a good-spirited contest between the sports teams to promote friendship, selflessness and community on and off the field.
“I incorporated Acts of Kindness Week into our athletic freshman seminar this year,” said Bobbi Caprice, assistant director of athletics at Penn State Brandywine. “I chose the kindness theme so our student-athletes could be mindful of how they serve others. I figured it was an appropriate way to kick off their collegiate careers — demonstrating acts of kindness among their teammates, friends, family members and ultimately our campus community.”
Acts of kindness could be as simple as opening a door for someone, paying a compliment or leaving the best parking spot for someone else.
The contest winner, women’s basketball player Ali Wilson, said the contest made her more aware of the small ways she can impact her community on a daily basis.
“During the contest week, I realized that acts of kindness are really things that we do daily without noticing,” said Wilson. “I wasn’t intentionally stepping up my game for Acts of Kindness Week — I was just doing small things daily that I don’t normally think about.”
Some of Wilson’s acts of kindness included sharing school materials, giving up a parking spot on a cold day and making cards for United States service members as well as for residents of a nearby nursing home. One day, while her roommates were gone, she cleaned the apartment and decorated for Christmas to surprise them.
“It made me realize that we really can and do help people every day,” she said.
For Wilson, acts of kindness from the athletics department helped cement her decision to attend Penn State Brandywine.
“I was recruited by Coach Larry Johnson and Bobbi Caprice,” she said. “They brought me here quite often, actually. Their kindness pulled me into the campus.”
Wilson has also received several acts of kindness from other students since coming to campus and beginning her human development and family studies degree.
“I’ve had total strangers hear that I was struggling with homework and offer to help me,” she said. “When I was new, lots of people helped me find my way around campus.”
Wilson hopes to see Acts of Kindness Week become an annual part of the campus culture. She also hopes to see it expand beyond the athletics department in upcoming years.
“I think more people on campus would begin to look out for each other and exercise kindness if it were campus-wide,” she said. “We just need to give them the motivation to get started.”
“It was great to see so many athletes come together to support and care for each other,” added Caprice. “My hope is that it was contagious and will spread beyond athletics.”