Georgia — Could you give an example of when your work and wisdom impacted someone to the point that they expressed their appreciation to you? A community must thrive on healthy bonding relationships for each individual to express gratitude and thanks on a deeper level. That is why my Student Government Association (SGA) administration 2023-24 of Oglethorpe University launched its first ‘The Stormy Gratitude Day.’
In many cases, we become overextended with work and academia to the point that even the daily instructors who teach, mentor, and support us seem like an everyday expectation, and we forget to express our gratitude to them. Being able to express gratitude and appreciation for professors, faculty and staff increases school spirit for students and administrators and motivates them to keep working.
The new recurring tradition the group kicked off on the last day of November was aimed at that time in the season of Thanksgiving. The event aims to strengthen connections between the student body and faculty/admin/professors by uplifting Petrel Pride on campus. It is inspired by our administration's focus on School Spirit in 2023-24, and we aimed to ensure our initiative, such as starting a new campus tradition, benefits both parties by showing appreciation and having fun together. In the week leading up to the event, students nominated a professor, faculty, or staff member via our Google Form, and then the SGA sent innovations to the nominated individuals.
At the start of the new traditional event, students picked up decorative thank you cards at the entrance of the university’s auditorium and sat with friends at the round tables. Then students walked into the nicely dim lit room, soothing Jazz music playing in the background with rows of tables of scones, bakery foods, and hot chocolate ready to be poured into disposable coffee cups. A commendable amount of students, faculty, and professors attended the event. Their warm smiles as they connected with each other and exchanged cards for hugs were the brightest part of the event devoted to strengthening relationships.
Those seeking ways to make a positive impact on their community can become involved with their campus' SGAs and run. Alternatively, if you are not enrolled in higher education, the people you know can help you get involved in an organization dedicated to supporting your passions.
Anyone interested in making a difference and positive changes in their community should start by becoming active in their college if in school or start locally. There are plenty of opportunities to participate actively in your community, starting with finding your angle. A person’s angle can relate to a passion for social issues, economics, dreams, and other fields.
My angle is public service, focusing on improving people's quality of life by creating initiatives and putting ideas into existence to improve human connections. This SGA’s Stormy Gratitude Day is meant to accomplish the primary goal of promoting student well-being and strengthening the connection between the student body and administrators.
Ashleigh Ewald (she/her/hers) is a Georgia-based journalist who attends Oglethorpe University. Follow her on IG: @ashleighewaldofficial.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett