10 Ways to Create a Thankful Community on Campus

Commuter Students at Fordham University created Gratitude Trees in their student lounge. In the words of Commuting Assistant Martine, TREEmendous!
Commuter Students at Fordham University created Gratitude Trees in their student lounge. In the words of Commuting Assistant Martine, TREEmendous! PC Martine De Matteo

Thanksgiving practically begs to be turned into a blender event.  Here are a couple of simple projects to create a sense of gratitude and community on your college campus.

1. Take over your school’s Instagram. (If they let you.) Snap pictures or videos of random students around campus, asking them what they are thankful for.

2. Set up an interactive bulletin board in the student lounge. Make it as creative as you want! Have students write their blessings on hand turkeys or anything else you can think of. Cover a wall in gratitude!

3. Turkey-grams! Set up a table and have students sign up to send their friends a sweet note delivered by a pilgrim, or just attached to a candy.

4. Thank you cards, just ’cause. Need a break from the stress? So does everyone else! Set up a table with construction paper and markers. People can stop and write a card for a friend. It’s a great way to slow down for five minutes and share appreciation for the people in your life.

Gratitude tree instructions
Fordham’s gratitude tree instructions. PC Martine De Matteo

5. Tell a staff member they are appreciated. Take idea #4 and instead ask everyone to write notes for janitors, cafeteria workers, Student Affairs professionals, professors, deans, everyone! When the whole campus feels loved and grateful, it’s a better place for everyone.

6. Mailbox love. Does your organization have a spot for each officer to receive notes? What about mailboxes for each organization on campus? Leave a quick note in each slot to tell the person or club why they are important to the community.

7. Friendsgiving potluck, of course. Are you an RA? Club officer? Just an awesome community member? Get the students in your residence hall or at your next meeting to bring some food and kick back and enjoy noms and each others’ company.

8. Give back to the less fortunate. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer or organize a food and clothing drive for the community outside your school. Find a way to give back and get the whole student body involved! During the holiday season, the help is extra needed, and people are in the giving mood.

9.  Connect on a spiritual level. Are you involved (or want to be) with your campus religious or spiritual community? Find a way to spend time in prayer, alone or with a group, to say thanks in a BIG way. Everyone will walk away feeling refreshed and more connected.

10. Personal reflection. Take the time to sit down and write a list of the things in your life you are most grateful for. Then, think about someone you know who might not have one of those blessings and find a way to share your good fortune with them. Have a friend who can’t see their family over Thanksgiving? Invite them to spend it with yours! Are you thankful for your weekly yoga class? Find a friend who is always stressed and ask them to join you for some relaxation.

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