Love Persists: Mount Holyoke Compliments

By Kayla M. Burson on November 30, 2012

 

“To everyone who is working and striving to make our wonderful Mount Holyoke Community a better place; to everyone who is working to fill it with more love and less hate, thank you!! You are wonderful.”—Anonymous

In less than two weeks the Mount Holyoke Compliments facebook page has redefined kindness and has helped students, faculty, staff, and alums remember what a remarkable community MHC really has.  This page is influenced by the Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario Compliments page which launched on September 12th of this year as a social experiment and has since inspired Compliments pages to be created all over Canada, the US, and soon, Europe.  Everyone has their down days, especially as finals are approaching, and these sites are boosting confidence, self-esteem, and love on our campuses.  Who wouldn’t want to be involved in that?

In the Mount Holyoke community these last few years, there has been great controversy about the ethics behind websites that let students post anonymously, specifically concerning the Holyoke Confessional, a website where MHC students can anonymously pose questions, concerns, discussions and have conversations.  It was originally created by Oberlin graduate students in 2007 and intended to allow students to “speak openly and candidly, often on taboo subjects” and share and receive advice; however, the site, unfortunately, did not stay that simple.  Students started bashing others through racist slurs and derogatory remarks—a surprise from the supposed accepting community of MHC.

However, Mount Holyoke Compliments is turning around anonymous posting for the better!  The facebook page encourages its followers to “Message [them] a warm&fuzzy compliment about MHC students, faculty, staff, alums, 5College classmates. [They]‘ll post it anonymously!”  The past few days there have been a surge of “likes” and compliments.  The page launched on November 19th, and currently, there are about 800 “likes,” and the numbers are growing constantly.

There has been such a great reaction to this page in the short time it has been active.  A few compliments, written in praise of the idea of this page and directly for the anonymous creator read:

 “To MHCompliments – Thanks so much. You’re restoring my faith in humanity.”

 “Mount Holyoke Compliments: Thank you for existing.”

 “To whoever organized this page: Thank you for doing something so positive for the MHC Community. I’m so happy this is a thing. :)

 “I think this group is a GREAT thing to boost people’s morals and lift their spirits!”

 “All of your words inspire me, Mohos. Look at how many days we can make better just by taking a second to tell people that we appreciate them! :)

 

Photo Credit: Kayla Burson

These reactions mimic the hopes of the creator who states: “I believe that persistent love can erode hate. I see this page as an avenue for positive energy; thus, I understand it as a site of social justice work…I am excited by the opportunity to facilitate a space where students, alums, faculty, and staff recognize each other as whole, complex humyn beings (rather than just their roles on campus).”

Many students share this positive outlook.  “I think it’s a great page and is wonderful,” says Mount Holyoke senior and fellow Uloop writer, Anna Smith.  “I think it’s the kind of thing that is important to have because it is nice to know that someone is thinking kind things about you and is the kind of thing that is great at countering the damage of sites like the confessional.”

Even faculty and staff are enjoying the benefits of this page.  Helena, a dining service worker at Blanchard café, said she was “honored and flattered” by the compliment she received on the Mount Holyoke Compliments page (which has become the most popular post with 168 “likes!”).  She thinks it’s wonderful that a student created this site to help spread kindness, especially after all the backlash of the confessional.

Several responses to compliments say things like “you made my day,” and that is a power that is wonderful to posses—knowing that your words inspired an individual to change their outlook on the day.  “It’s nice to have a way to recognize people who have meant something to you, and to know that in turn you can make their days,” says Uloop writer Rani Mehta ’15. “It’s a very ‘Pay it forward’ type thing.”

Picture by La Melodie, via flickr.com

So, everyone, keep paying it forward!  Become a part of this movement today and “like” Mount Holyoke Compliments, your school’s Compliments page, or create one for your school, company, club, sports team, church group, etc.  Give a compliment online or in person.  Just whatever you do, be positive and stop the hate, share the love!

 

Special thanks to:

-The creator of Mount Holyoke Compliments

-Mary Jo Curtis in Media/Communications for publicizing the MH Compliments page

-Everyone helping with this movement

-My wonderful readers!

 You are all wonderful, and none of this would be possible without you!

Thank you!

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