Health resource information and complimentary suckers are provided at NAU's second annual Kindness Expo held in the HLC, Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 2019.

I’ve been at NAU for a year now, and I can honestly say I’ve never been anywhere with such friendly and kind people. Walking around campus, people smile even if they are complete strangers. People will go out of their way to help someone. No one has to do any of these things, but they go out of their way for others.

Kindness is relative to everyone. Being kind to one another could mean something different to everyone. However, kindness is not optional.

On a college campus, students are exposed to a variety of new beliefs and people. For some, coming to college is the first time they are exposed to a more diverse population.

A key to kindness is leaving bullying or hazing behind in high school. There is no need for it anywhere, especially not in college. When exposed to something that may seem different, it is important not to judge a book by its cover.

Living away from home can be hard for some at first, but new people can make a huge impact in a person’s life. Being open to hearing new ideas or opinions increases the level of immediate kindness rather than judgment.

Although disagreeing is a part of human nature, disagreeing with someone through putting them down should not be automatic unless their opinion is hateful. Tolerance should be given everywhere, especially in the classroom.

Everyone is here to learn, so being open to other ways of thinking is crucial to maintaining a healthy learning environment on campus. This does not mean automatic agreement, but the least everyone can do is listen.

Listening to people makes them feel validated, even if the people involved are at a complete roadblock with one another.

Luckily, I can say that I have not seen disagreement to the extent of targeting people or bullying others here at NAU. However, that does not mean it never happens.

Why go out of your way to make someone feel bad or not included on campus when kindness is free?

It is the little acts of kindness that can make a difference. In my personal experience, people have gone out of their way just to make my life a little easier.

During the recent monsoon season, I was walking home in the pouring rain without a jacket or umbrella. A stranger came up to me and put their umbrella over me. It may sound like nothing, but it completely made my day and kept my clothes from becoming totally soaked.

Going a little bit out of the way can completely turn someone’s day around. Kindness is not optional, it is essential.