Jean Riley-Schultz, assistant professor of practice of accountancy, encouraged her accounting 201 students at the College of Business Administration to pay it forward with a random act of kindness prior to Thanksgiving. Riley-Schultz has been teaching at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for 13 years and in the last three, she has assigned this special extra credit opportunity.
“I’m positive UNL students inadvertently perform random acts of kindness each day. Aware of the many blessings in the United States, Thanksgiving break is the perfect time for students to intentionally help someone and then share their stories,” Riley-Schultz said.
This year, accounting 201 students posted their random acts of kindness on social media using the hashtag #UNLCBArak. These acts of helping others ranged from small acts like helping with chores around the house and leaving inspirational notes to in-the-moment impulses like buying a homeless person food and more organized ways to give back to the community.
Madison Springer, a sophomore accounting major from Lincoln, Nebraska, wanted to pay it forward at work. She is a barista at Scooters Coffee located at 84th
and Van Dorn. She used her tips to pay for one drive through order and had no idea what an impact her small act of kindness would have.
“When paying for the order, I handed the customer a little business card that said, ‘A random act of kindness has just happened to you, pass it on’. I was amazed each car kept paying for the car after them. It went on for 15 cars,” Springer said.
Springer also volunteers at People City Mission each month. Many students chose to donate clothes, food and money to many charity organizations like the People City Mission.
“Sometimes we can get absorbed in our own little world and we don't think about others around us. It is important to get out of our comfort zones and take time to help others, so people know they are not alone,” she said.
Some students even used their accounting skills to help others. Sara Beka, a sophomore economics major from Fenton, Missouri, and Calen Griffin, a sophomore accounting and finance major from Imperial, Nebraska, chose to help a fellow student with homework and calculating student loans.
“Students posted delightful kindnesses online and I want to thank my accounting students for their kindness and thoughtful service to others,” Riley-Schultz said. “One of my favorite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, ‘It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.’”
Riley-Schultz hopes students will continue doing good deeds. As winter break is fast approaching, students who are inspired to Start Something by doing a random act of kindness can share their experiences on social media with the hashtag #UNLCBArak.