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VT students 'pay it forward' to stop bullying

Jenna Johnson

Monday morning 500 students in an introductory to psychology class at Virginia Tech will receive PayDay candy bars in wrappers that read, "Pay It Forward."

And instead of the routine lecture of the day, professor E. Scott Geller will urge the students to perform "intentional acts of kindness" -- and hand over their candy bar to a stranger, who hopefully will do the same.

Doing this, Geller says, could create a more caring culture. And it could stop bullying.

The candy bar experiment is part of a program called "Actively Caring for People," which Geller and a group of students started in the fall of 2008 in an effort to change the culture of Virginia Tech's campus and the surrounding community. Since then, several elementary and middle schools, plus a number of colleges, have adopted the program. For this week's experiment, students can record their acts of kindness on the Web site.

When class ends at 12:05, the 500 students will leave with their candy bars. Tomorrow, another section of 500 students will do the same. That means more than 1,000 potential acts of kindness.

But, remember, you don't need a candy bar to commit your own intentional acts of kindness. How will you pay it forward today?

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | October 25, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags:  Virginia Tech  
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Comments

What a great idea to promote kindness. I look forward to seeing what other schools are doing. Students can share their stories via video on www.ndm.edu/contest and win some money for their charity. The contest is called Whose Life Will You Change? and is open to groups and individuals in high school and college who want to tell the story of how even small acts can change lives.
Nancy Carr, College of Notre Dame

Posted by: CNotreDame | October 25, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Except for the consumerism (PayDay candy bar) aspect, this sounds like a wonderful activity. Great co-opting move by Hershey if they donated the candy. Apparently the experiment used to use wristbands instead of candy. Is the intent to do a comparison between earlier runs and this one, food vs. non-food?

Posted by: harmonygritz | October 25, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Please give all these candy bars to me for I'm starving now. In all earnestness, it sounds creative and seems wonderful human spirit.

Posted by: knowledgenotebook | October 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The intent is not measure the difference between the wristbands and candy, but it's a great idea. The wristbands were never measured effectively, until now. Soon, each band will have a unique number, so we can see on a map how far each wristband has gone and show the connectedness between us all!

And thanks, Nancy. We will submit!

Posted by: shanemccarty | October 26, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

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