The Wellesley Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (OSRL) kicked off a program called 40 Days of Kindness and Gratitude through their own act of kindness by inviting the Wellesley community for bagels and coffee on Feb. 10. The 40 day event is comprised of a “variety of programs, meditations, experiential opportunities and conversations” that will “share and multiply gratitude and kindness on our campus and around the world,” according to an email sent to the student body by Rev. Jacquelina Marquez, the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life.
The events, which will all occur sometime between Feb. 10 to Mar. 20, include card making, Valentine making, the WellNESST festival, body positivity workshops and an open dialogue in collaboration with the counseling service and LGBTQ+ programs and services. The OSRL also partnered with First Gen. Network, Acorns, College Government and the Office of Student Wellness, along with other groups on campus to provide the program.
Dean Marquez explained in an email to The Wellesley News that the idea for 40 Days of Gratitude and Kindness grew from the concept of a yearly program that she worked on at Northwestern University, where she was the Associate University Chaplain. When the College chaplains decided to hold a similar sort of annual program at Wellesley, Marquez said that “The need to receive and share more kindness comes up a lot in our pastoral counseling sessions and we wondered how we might contribute to a larger conversation. The 40 Days program series seemed like a natural fit for this goal.”
The purpose of 40 Days is to bring awareness to the community of the need to “receive and share” gratitude and kindness in order to foster “a kinder and more grateful way of living,” according to Dean Marquez.
For each of the 40 Days, the OSRL has been sharing a post with an inspirational quote on Instagram. Dean Marquez also said that the OSRL will be including a “Wellness Window” in their monthly newsletter that will suggest some ways to incorporate wellness into daily life at Wellesley. The program is also visible throughout campus –– in the Keohane Sports Center, there is a “gratitude pillar” where students can place sticky notes sharing what they are grateful for.
Dean Marquez is looking forward to this initiative making an impact on campus. She notes when she first sent out the email to the community, she was overwhelmed by the amount of people who responded, wanting to contribute.
“I feel a lot of hope in the possibilities ahead with 40 Days. I’m also very happy to be on a campus where so many campus partners were genuinely excited about this idea and willingly contributed to this experience.”
40 Days will end on Mar. 10 with a pizza lunch event at the Multifaith Center.