By Ella Luzzi
Copy and Line Editor
On Thursday, March 7, KU’s chapter of Friends of Rachel held their fifth annual Kindness Karnival in the McFarland Student Union multipurpose room. The purpose of the Karnival is simply to spread happiness and promote kindness.
“The goal of our event is to bring members of the KU community together to celebrate kindness and spread love and compassion,” said Olivia Knauss-Hauck, junior and president of Friends of Rachel.
This year’s theme was “Kindness Blooms Here.” With this theme, Friends of Rachel wanted to encourage personal growth and remind everyone that kindness can blossom anywhere.
“We focused on the idea of growth and blooming, whether it was physically or symbolically,” said Knauss-Hauck. Flowers and plants were scattered around the room, including plastic and paper flowers, succulents donated by the Botany Club and cupcakes decorated as flowers.
Friends of Rachel had their tables set up in the center of the room; the tables provided activities such as making “Be Kind” bracelets, decorating flags with positive messages and writing thank you notes. They also gave away t-shirts, pins, food and succulents.
Over 25 clubs participated in the Karnival, their tables lining the perimeter of the room, and KU Radio and The Kutztones provided music. The other clubs had kindness-related activities too, such as writing nice messages on sticky notes. This year had the largest student organization participation in the event’s history and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
“I absolutely loved the Karnival,” Ellen Robinson, freshman, said. “The atmosphere was so warm and inviting. Everyone there seemed aimed at spreading kindness and love in the world. It was really refreshing and heartwarming.”
Friends of Rachel is a nationally recognized club with chapters from coast to coast. It was created in honor of Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim of the Columbine Shooting in 1999. After her death, many of Scott’s classmates shared stories about the profound impact her simple acts of kindness had on their lives. She left behind many journals detailed with her values and philosophies on life. She challenged people to treat themselves and others with kindness.
Friends of Rachel clubs are dedicated to making their community a nicer, safer and happier place to live, as Scott would have wanted.
“As Golden Bears, I think one of our duties is to be kind,” said Rachael Wolfe, graduate advisor and former president of Friends of Rachel. “Rachel Joy Scott was such an inspiration to myself and many [others], and this world certainly needs to keep hearing her message.”
As Scott wrote in her journal, “Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer. I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
If you are interested in joining Friends of Rachel and taking Rachel’s challenge, the club’s meetings are held every Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Old Main 12.