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The Rhode to Kindness

Advisor: Dr. Amiee Shelton

Kay Albers

Megan Kopf

Lisa Reddy

Alexander

Kyle

A campaign implemented by:

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation asked us to assist them in building awareness among the college community by implementing an upbeat public relations campaign on campus designed to educate, motivate and activate the student community to increase participation in kindness activities; using acts of kindness as means to create real impact on students lives and in turn, on the lives of those they serve. Our charge was to be imaginative and innovative in creating a public relations plan that would assist in answering the question, What is the best means of building and promoting a successful random acts of kindness campaign on a college campus that is initiated and sustained by the student population?

Campaign Overview Target Public

Strategy

Our primary target public was Roger Williams University students. However, we knew from both our research and past experiences with campus initiatives that we would have to reach this public through intercessory publics. These intercessory publics would have to include both student run and university-supported groups. With the help of these groups, we knew we would be able to bridge the communication gap between the general student body and student run campus initiatives.

Situational Analysis
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation asked us to assist them in building awareness among the college community by implementing an upbeat public relations campaign on campus designed to educate, motivate and activate the student community to increase participation in kindness activities; using acts of kindness as means to create real impact on students lives and in turn, on the lives of those they serve. Our charge was to be imaginative and innovative in creating a public relations plan that would assist in answering the question, What is the best means of building and promoting a successful random acts of kindness campaign on a college campus that is initiated and sustained by the student population?

Strategies were integrated into the entire campaign. We used social media, one-on-one communication,collateral materials, audience participation, salient information, and group influence through partnerships and alliances. Audience participation and group influence were our two most powerful tools. Creating messages and events that spoke to our targeted publics were also very important to break through the clutter we all face regarding the number of messages a day. The creation of unique collateral materials were a novel way to reach our publics.

Roger Williams University is an independent liberal arts university that enrolls close to 3,600 undergraduate students. Commitment to community through sustainability and service is a core value of the university. Through secondary research, our group discovered that student community service and overall involvement has been steadily increasing over the last ten years. Between 1989 and 2009 participation in community service has increased by 2, 156 students. RWU students serve 65 organizations throughout the state of Rhode Island with over 29,000 hours of dedicated service each year. There are on average 50-60 students enrolled in community service work study and 10 student members of AmeriCorps Scholarships for service funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. A program, Community Connections, involves the incoming freshman class in a continued orientation process that benefits the community through a group experience. In the past year, over 1,000 freshmen and 150 returning students participated in service. Returning students act as site supervisors for the event. In addition, to the Community Connections program Roger Williams holds an annual 5th grade Day where 5th graders from Bristol and Warren come to campus for a day of academic exploration. 150 student volunteers work with 300 elementary students. Thus we knew that the mission of Random Acts of Kindness would resonate with the various publics within our University. However, dispute the impact our students have on the community, we found through a survey of 100 communication students that most students felt the campus community needed to be encouraged to spread kindness to each other. We found that despite a core value of our university being to understand how different cultures, philosophies and historical experiences affect the perspectives of others both faculty and students needed to be encouraged to be kind to each other. Through interviews and focus groups we also discovered the best way to reach students. We found that word of mouth and social media are the two primary ways students receive information. However, as we were not as concerned about informing students and faculty as we were about their behavior, we needed to find out what made them act or participate. To this end, our surveys, interviews and focus groups found that various events and cosponsored programs with other student run organizations motivates most students towards action.

Research

OBJECTIVE 1:

Campaign Goal
and raise awareness of

The goal of this campaign was to inspire kindness

kind and thoughtful actions around the Roger Williams University campus.

Objectives, Strategies & Tatics

To involve 25% of all RWU student participation in Random Acts of Kindness activities on the RWU campus by March 11, 2011. We knew we needed to place our messages where they motional tools to increase knowledge of the campaign. Post-It would be seen by our target publics. However, we had notes were scattered among classroom desks and tables. These to put them where people would actually attend to Post-It notes were written on with colorful markers illuminating them. Additionally, we needed vehicles that provide fre- acts of kindness and social media information for Random Acts quency. As we knew the majority of our targeted public of Kindness at RWU. use social media, we placed most of our messages in this media. However, we also learned that our demo- GHH Attack: During our GHH Attack in the Global Heritage graphics also pay attention to usable give-a ways, thus Hall, an academic building on campus, a random act of kindwe incorporated these also. ness was written on the white boards in all the classrooms with our Facebook page and Twitter handle. This attack was done by Facebook: Facebook was a tool used to spread knowl- our campaign team the night before, so acts of kindness could edge about the dates, times and information associ- be seen by students and faculty throughout the entire day. ated with each event our team executed throughout the campaign. Facebook events were linked up to the Compliment Table in the Commons: This table was in use the first Facebook Random Acts of Kindness at RWU page and last weeks of our campaign, on February 23rd and March that was also created to allow friends within the Roger 11th. Situated outside the Dining Commons, a heavily trafficked Williams Facebook network to like the page, therefore area, passersbys were invited to write a compliment, inspiration demonstrating visual support for Random Acts of Kind- or act of kindness on a Post-It note, which was then put back on ness. the table for a stranger to have and feel appreciated. Evaluation Methods & Results: Objective 1 Twitter: Twitter is a social media tool used throughout this campaign to spread information about events to a Based on our research we found that the best way to connect smaller audience, in the hopes that re-tweeting and with the campus was through various social media sights. Facedaily tweeting of new kindness ideas would increase book and Twitter was the most popular. Eighty liked our Facenumber of followers and therefore get the message out book page and we had 72 followers on Twitter. Using a tool on about the campaign. This would, in time increase the Facebook to measure the impressions of each post we found message exposure to a new demographic that does that people viewed a post or clicked on a post ranged from 145426 clicks. On Campus there is a service called The Daily Dose not use Facebook as their primary information source. this is where campus wide information gets sent. It gets sent to Blog: Random Acts of Kindness at RWUs blog was cre- all-university and all-student e-mail lists, which include all emated to update followers with campaign information ployees and graduate and undergraduate students with Roger and its various events or ideas. Linked up to Twitter and Williams e-mail accounts. Our campaign events were featured Facebook, viewers are able to read more about the in the Daily Dose emails, which means that all university personcampaign through the blog, since it allows for daily up- nel were made aware of our events. Based on our research, we dates of ideas and actions of kindness throughout the found that the some of the most populated buildings on campus during the day are the Dining Commons, Global Heritage campaign. Hall, and the Residence halls. These were the places that the Bookmarks: Bookmarks were created to allow the RWU majority of our events were placed. In the Global Heritage Hall community to leave a promotional or kindness event over 2800 students have classes there daily. with a reminder of the amount of programs and ideas OBJECTIVE 2: To increase student awareness of Random Acts available to be kind on campus. Bookmarks are red and of Kindness on the RWU campus by 40% by March 11, 2011. have campaign events on their front, along with both We knew we had to work with various groups on campus to crethe PRSSA and Random Acts of Kindness logo. - Frisbees: ate a buzz and get people to pay attention and like what they Created as a promotional tool used at events and with were hearing. We chose the groups with the largest number other groups, miniature Frisbees with PRSSA and Random of active members. We also considered which groups had the Acts of Kindness logos were attached and hande d out. most influence over the student body. Based on our research we found that the students respond best to events put on by Post-its: The staple of our campaign lay in the hands of clubs and organizations. By teaming up and having some of our an ordinary Post-It note. These notes were used as pro- events co-sponsored by these groups meant that the people who belong to these groups were involved and they were able to use their networks to maximize exposure of RAOK on campus. The importance of using these popular student groups helped build credibility for our campaign and made the students on

campus engaged and interested in we were doing. Based on our research, we found that the some of the most populated buildings on campus during the day are the Dining Commons, Global Heritage Hall, and the Residence halls. These were the places that the majority of our events were placed. Campus Entertainment Network: The Campus Entertainment Network is one of the largest organizations on Roger Williams University campus. This group is in charge of all entertainmnet on campus. Therefore, our campaign presented to their executive board in the hopes that they would co-sponsor an event with Random Acts of Kindness. Together, our campaign and CEN created a Fortune of Kindness event that both groups staffed. WQRI: WQRI is the local campus radio station. Our campaign team presented to the executive board of WQRI in hopes of their support at formal meetings. National Residence Hall Honorary: This group consists of the top 15% of students. Because our campaign team wanted to incorporate an act of kindness that incorporated staff around Roger Williams University campus, the National Residence Hall Honorary was the group we turned to. We held information sessions and focused conversations with NRHH members to persuade them to partner with us. Resident Assistants: The eight resident halls on campus house more than half of our student body; therefore, our campaign team decided that a great way to share our messages would be in their very own residence hall. We had open dialogue with the group, and presented at their formal meetings our ideas for collaboration. Multicultural Student Union: The Multicultural Student Union (MSU) collaborated with a handful of groups on campus to sponsor a campuswide event, Theatre of the Deaf. Our campaign team met with MSU to discuss how we could help with the event both informally and formally. Eco-Reps: Our campaign team originally thought of an event for the campaign that allowed biodegradable balloons to be sent up with acts of kindness, in a lift off of kindness. Unsure of how environmentally safe this event would be, our campaign met with the Eco-Reps on campus to determine the dangers associated with this event, which is where our drop of kindness event idea transpired. Personal contact with the Eco-Reps allowed for the creation of a new, more environmentally kind event. Student Programs and Leadership: Student Programs and Leadership is a department on campus that oversees all student-run clubs and organizations on campus. Because our campaign involved events that required co-sponsorships with groups, space requests and designs printed, constant communication with Student Programs and Leadership was extremely important. Feinstein Center for Service Learning: Feinstein Center for Service Learning is a department that specializes in community service on the Roger

Williams University campus. We were in communication with the director of Service Learning to obtain research and gain support for our Beach Clean Up event, which Service Learning helped us advertise in their office. Bon Appetit: Because the Dining Commons is such a highly trafficked student area on campus, most of our events involved the use of the Dining Commons. Working with dining representatives allowed our campaign to hold such events as the Commons Night and advertise our campaign with tables outside the Dining Commons. Evaluation Methods & Results: Objective 2 We achieved alliances with seven student run groups and five non-student groups. We worked with Campus Entertainment Network, WQRI (student radio), National Residence Hall Honorary, Resident Assistants, PRSSA, Multicultural Student Union, Eco-Reps, and then Student Programs and Leadership, Feinstein Center for Service Learning, Bon Appetite and University Communications.. In the Global Heritage Hall 2800 students have classes there daily. During our GHH Attack a random act of kindness was written on the White Boards in all the classrooms with our Facebook page and Twitter handle. This meant that almost 500 students were exposed to a Random Act of Kindness and our social media sites.With our Random Acts of Kindness Night in the Commons, red balloons were placed throughout the commons with a slideshow and our banner and logo,. This took place at the dining commons, which has on average 2800 students per night for dinner. Which meant that 2800 students were informed of our logo, and the RAOK campaign.

Objectives, Strategies & Tatics

Custodian Appreciation Day: Random Acts of Kindness teamed up with The National Residence Hall Honorary for an event on campus to recognize RWUs Silent Heroes in an act of kindness. A banner was constructed that students around campus signed with appreciation notes, and then on Wednesday, a breakfast was provided to the custodial staff at RWU to give back to people on campus that give students so much. Wear Red Day: On the second week of our campaign, students were urged to demonstrate support and knowledge of Random Acts of Kindness by wearing the color red. Red beads were also given out throughout the day to interest passersby. Beach Clean Up: Roger Williams University students were invited to help clean up a small beach at the end of campus on a Sunday afternoon during the second week of our campaign. Despite the rain, 10 students arrived eager to demonstrate kindness and help out. Scavenger Hunt: Executed during the last week of the campaign when excitement and knowledge of the campaign was at its peak, balloons with acts of kindness were placed in 5 places on campus. Students were urged to collect all 5 compliments to complete the scavenger hunt, with the reward being a $25 gift card for the winning team. Fortune Cookies of Kindness: Partnering with the Campus Entertainment Network, the Roger Williams community was invited to write acts of kindness or inspirations on a slip of fortune paper, which would be placed inside fortune cookies and given out throughout the afternoon to passersby or friends. Drop of Kindness: Executed on the last week of our campaign, members dropped 175 balloons from the highest balcony in a highly trafficked academic building on campus during a 10 minute break in classes. Each balloon had a compliment and free doughnut and coffee gift card to our campus convenience store, courtesy of our Bon Appetit dining staff and Eco Reps. Originally we were going to release 200 red balloons representing kindness into the air, and this was represented in a news article in campus newspaper The Hawks Herald. Due to the exposure of our campaign in The Hawks Herald, we received over 45 emails and 26 phone calls showing us that not only did people know of our campaign, but were motivated to act on it. However, much of the received feedback about this event from both students and professors, questioned the potential danger a balloon launch could present to the atmosphere and the wildlife in our surrounding area. The issue also became a hot topic in science classes and sustainability discussions. Due to this dialogue, we were able to get even more attention than we had anticipated. Despite using balloons that were 100% biodegradable, we decided to look into potential alternatives. With the collaboration of various campus entities, we chose an alternative tactic. Instead of doinga balloon release, we chose to do a balloon drop.

Objectives, Strategies & Tatics

Despite the original negativity, the event was an even bigger success because students had been watching the progress of the event from the beginning. Evaluation Methods & Results: Objective 3 With the help of six Resident Assistants (RAs) using our Bulletin in a bag tactic we were able to post them in a high trafficked area of six residence halls. This means over 225 students were made aware of our signature red balloon and our campaign. Throughout various points in the campaign we handed out material to students. We handed out 250 Frisbees with our logo, 250 bookmarks with calendar of our events, and 200 red beads for students showing their support of our Kindness campaign. The Frisbees and Bookmarks will act as a lasting token that students can tangibly hold and keep around with them well after the campaign has ended and can still be reminded of the importance of RAOK on campus. Based on the results of our Facebook pages created per each event throughout the campaign we were able to evaluate how many people participated in each event. For the Wear Red Day we had 231 students say they were attending the event, which meant that the campus had over 200 people wearing red in support of our campaign. Our Fortune of Kindness event had 93 people attending and we gave out 300 fortune cookies that students could write an act of kindness or a compliment to a friend. Similarly with our Compliment table over 400 post-its were given to students with an act of Kindness on it. This was placed at the dining commons, which has on average 2800 students per night for dinner. We had 9 people attend our beach cleanup, seven people take part in a campus wide scavenger hunt. In addition, we had over 200 people sign a banner to thank our custodians in Custodian Appreciation Day At the Drop of Kindness event, we had 58 people attending however we handed out 200 coupons redeemable for a free donut and coffee from our campus DunkinDonuts. Based on our research we found that the best way to connect with the campus was through various social media sights. Facebook and Twitter was the most popular. 80 people liked our Facebook page and 72 followers on twitter. Using a tool on Facebook to measure the impressions of each post we found that people viewed a post or clicked on a post ranged from 145-426 clicks. On Campus there is a service called The Daily Dose this is where campus wide information gets sent. It gets sent to all-university and allstudent e-mail lists, which include all employees and graduate and undergraduate students with Roger Williams e-mail accounts. Our campaign events were featured in the Daily Dose emails, which means that all university personnel were made aware of our events.

OBJECTIVE 3: To work with five RWU student-run groups to promote Random Acts of Kindness on Roger Williams University campus by March 11, 2011. To enable Roger Williams University students to actively participate in Random Acts of Kindness various campus-wide events were created between February 21st and March 11th. A total of eight different events were created and successfully run throughout the campaign.
Bulletin Board in a Bag: Partnering with various Resident Assistants on campus, the Random Acts of Kindness at RWU team created bulletin boards for living areas that presented information from the foundations website, along with ideas how to bring kindness to campus. Pre-made bulletin boards were placed in a bag and handed out March 1st. Random Acts of Kindness Night: Our first event was held inside the Dining Commons during dinner, which was a common place for students to gather on a Wednesday night. Red balloons and streamers representing the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation were placed throughout the area while a continuous slide show with acts of kindness and ideas how to bring kindness to campus was played.

While implementing the campaign we exceeded our objectives. Our events were more successful than we originally expected them to be. With the help of the universitys other organizations our events were able to be run on a much larger scale and involve more people. We reached a larger audience than we anticipated due to the success of our social media. Social Media was the driving force for this campaign by allowing us to notify our public of our upcoming events, leading to more audience participation. Based on our campaigns success, our plan could be implemented on other universities or in school situations. Our plan was successful because we have a large amount of people in a small area allowing us to easily target our public.

Conclusion

Beginning Expenses Remaining

Operating Budget

$300.00

Upper Commons Dinner $10.00 Sticky Notes ($4.75) $5.25 Wear Red For Kindness $20.00 Red Metallic Beads ($15.98) $4.02 Miscellaneous Marketing Items $230.00 Glow in the Dark Flying Disks ($59.85) 100 Red Balloons ($14.99) Bookmark Printing Cards ($20.00) Shipping Charges ($19.99) $115.17 Drop of Kindness $40.00 200 Red Balloons ($27.69) $12.31

($163.25)

$136.75

Here is an appendix of all of our collateral materials, media articles, etc.

Bits of Kindness

Beginning Expenses Remaining $1,000.00 Rock Out to Kindness WQRI DJ & Set-up ($360.00) Fortune of Kindness Fortune Cookies ($119.00) Drop of Kindness Dunkin Donuts Convenience Store Coupons ($200.00) Custodian Appreciation Day Donuts and Coffee ($100.00) TOTALS ($779.00) $221.00

In Kind donation budget