HAMLET— Richmond Community College’s Student Government Association is challenging the community to “Pay It Forward” this week with random acts of kindness.
The SGA’s Pay It Forward Challenge officially kicked off last week on the college’s campus with free pizza for all students. In exchange, students were given “compliment sheets,” and they were encouraged to pay someone a compliment.
This week, the SGA is handing out Pay It Forward cards with the challenge written on the back to do something nice for at least three complete strangers and then give them a Pay It Forward card. SGA President Jessica Hall, of Hamlet, said the goal is for this challenge to spread beyond the college campus and into the community.
The idea for the challenge came about after Hall learned how a friend of hers was eating at a local restaurant, and a couple picked up the tab for her friend’s meal. Her friend decided instead of taking advantage of the free meal, she would pay it forward for the next person who came up to pay.
Hall said this continued through the night at the restaurant with more than a dozen diners paying it forward in a show of kindness instead of taking the free meal.
“It all started with one person, and then everybody else making the decision to pay for the next person’s meal. I found that very inspiring,” Hall. “We have so many people talking about how bad stuff is and always complaining. I thought this challenge could be the inspiration for saying, ‘Be the change that you want to see.’ It has to start from somewhere, and if we’re all just condemning everything and not doing anything to change it, then it’s not going to get any better.”
Hall is a senior at RichmondCC and will be graduating in May with an Associate in Arts degree. This is her second degree from RichmondCC, having also completed her Associate in Criminal Justice as well as certificates in law enforcement and corrections.
“I feel like this could be a big change for our whole county, because one compliment or one nice gesture can change a whole person’s day,” Hall said. “I feel like it would be good coming from the college, because this college is the one creating our leaders.”
Hall said being a student at RichmondCC has helped shape her character and to learn to control her emotions. A major factor in that change, she said, is because she’s never had a bad experience at RichmondCC. From administrators to instructors to maintenance employees, Hall said everyone she’s interacted with on campus has always been nice and friendly.
“With us promoting pay it forward and to be the change, we can show that the College does care about the community as well as the students who go here,” Hall said.
Pay It Forward Challenge Cards will be available in the Student Services office in the Lee Building and outside the SGA office on the main campus in Hamlet, as well as from any member of the SGA.
However, you might just end up with one in your hand after someone has shown you a random act of kindness and asks you to “pay it forward.”
Wylie D. Bell is director of marketing and communications for Richmond Community College.