University of Arkansas at Little Rock

09/26/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/26/2017 11:25

College of Social Sciences and Communication launches Merci Initiative to recognize positive acts

On Sept. 1, Jasmine Avery's ordinary Friday afternoon turned extraordinary when she was surprised by the delivery of a note and chocolates to sweeten her day.

Avery, a student worker at the Link in the College of Social Sciences and Communication, was surprised to receive a note from her boss, Rachel Jones, assistant dean of learning and student success, thanking her for her good work.

'I felt more than happy to receive Rachel's positive comments,' Avery said. 'Ms. Rachel is more than just my boss; she is someone I personally look up to.'

The positive note is part of a new initiative in the College of Social Sciences and Communication, where students, faculty, and staff are learning that a kind word or good deed can go a long way.

The college rolled out its 'Merci CSSC' initiative in August, which allows people to recognize those from the college who have made a positive impact by performing an act of kindness or going above and beyond to help someone.

'This allows us to reflect on the people who help and support us and show them thanks,' Jones said. 'I wanted to utilize the Merci Initiative to just let Jasmine know how thankful I was for all of her hard work for the first couple of weeks of the semester and encourage her to continue being awesome.'

Dean Julien Mirivel said the initiative was a way to celebrate the students and employees within the college.

'In the college, we want to create a really positive culture for faculty, staff, and students,' he said. 'One way of doing that is to find opportunities where people can celebrate each other.'

Mirivel, who is a well-known scholar on the effects of positive communication, said that acknowledging goodness and kind acts will encourage more people to perform similar acts.

'There is a lot of research in positive psychology that shows gratitude is a way to experience positive communications both for the receiver and the sender,' Mirivel said. 'We should try to find ways of creating positive energy, and this is one way of doing that.'

Receiving a positive note so early in her new job did motivate Avery to work harder.

'The positive comments I received by Rachel gave me more motivation to keep being myself, working hard, and putting a smile on everyone's face who comes by my job, just like Ms. Rachel!' Avery said.

Sending a positive message of gratitude to someone in the College of Social Sciences and Communication is as simply as filling out anonline form.

The college had more than 20 submissions in its first week alone. The messages are reviewed by a member of the College of Social Sciences and Communication dean's office. The message will then be printed and hand delivered to the recipient along with a few chocolates on Fridays.