Members of the student group Do Random Acts of Kindness offered free hugs, high fives, faux tattoos and the chance to jump in an inflatable castle on the Diag yesterday for the group’s annual Goodness Day.

Engineering junior Sarah Khan, the event’s co-coordinator, said DoRAK planned the event to help students reduce stress from upcoming final exams and inspire them to do good deeds in their daily lives. The group organizes various activities on campus to spread and encourage kindness among students.

In an effort to turn the day into a school-wide event, Goodness Day featured performances by two local bands and 36 student organizations that campaigned for philanthropic causes. Members of DoRAK also passed out pins that students can take to Pita Kabob, Silvio’s and Middle Earth to take advantage of deals offered by businesses for the event.

Khan said she has benefitted from DoRAK’s emphasis on the importance of genuine kindness.

“Just because somebody made you mad doesn’t mean you can’t hold the door open for somebody else, or you can’t give somebody else a smile or a high five,” Khan said.

Claire Baker, DoRAK co-director, said the organization has plans to continue hosting further Goodness Day events in the future.

“It’s an event that’s growing … It’s been getting bigger every year, and we’re really excited to keep working on it,” she said.

Todd Sevig, director of Counseling and Psychological Services and chair of the University’s Mental Health Work Group, wrote in an e-mail that he applauded DoRAK’s efforts in hosting Goodness Day.

“By definition, only good can come of this for our campus,” he wrote.

Sevig said the event is beneficial because it can help students manage stress during the end of the semester amid numerous exams and projects. He added that CAPS advises students to “stay in balance and keep perspective … keep realistic expectations, manage your stress, manage your time and take breaks.”

DoRAK was originally part of the service organization Circle K, but has grown to become an independent organization with about 200 members. Members plan random acts of kindness and spend approximately one hour of their week making an effort to brighten the other students’ days.

Recently, the 10-year-old student organization made placemats for children at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, cheered for students entering exams and wrote encouraging chalk messages in the Diag, according to DoRAK’s February 2012 newsletter.

LSA junior Alyssa Engstrom said DoRAK has had a positive impact on her experience at the University.

“One day I was having a really bad day, and some random guy offered to give me a hug, and it brightened up my day,” she said.

Khan said she appreciates the diversity she experiences within the group and enjoys working with English majors, nurses, pre-med students and pre-law students — people she said she would rarely interact with otherwise.

LSA sophomore Kevin Burkhart added that he enjoyed the free high fives on the Diag, and it helped improve his spirits.

“It makes me feel great it brightens up my day and gives me a good boost,” Burkhart said.

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