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University of Suffolk SU uses random acts of kindness to support students

16:03 17 February 2017

Random Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Chrissie Aresti. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Random Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Chrissie Aresti. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Students’ Union officers at the University of Suffolk have been spreading the cheer with a series of random acts of kindness as a means of helping out stressed students.

Random Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Giving a student a hug is Rachel Gilbey. Picture: GREGG BROWNRandom Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Giving a student a hug is Rachel Gilbey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The university’s advice centre launched the Boost project at the end of last year after noticing students were coming to the advice centre for support.

In a bid to help students and spread a smile to those who were struggling, the SU applied for funding from the university’s foundation board to launch a series of random acts of kindness.

Free pizza at the University of Suffolk as part of the Students' Union Boost random acts of kindnessFree pizza at the University of Suffolk as part of the Students' Union Boost random acts of kindness

The SU has already held a number since January including free pizza, free coffee and free bacon bap giveaways, and on Friday marked the National Random Acts of Kindness Day with a special afternoon of fun.

Chrissy Aresti, student advisor with the SU said: “At the advice centre we noticed a lot of students when they got to crisis point, but we wanted to reach students before they got to that point and spread a bit of joy across campus.

Free coffee being given in the University of Suffolk's campus shop as part of the Students' Union Boost random acts of kindnessFree coffee being given in the University of Suffolk's campus shop as part of the Students' Union Boost random acts of kindness

“There are students juggling other priorities like work and families and it’s easy for them to be overwhelmed – we want to make them smile when they are not expecting it and shows them the SU is here to support them.”

On Friday, the SU officers were handing out free chocolate bars and free hugs to students and staff, as well as hiding chocolate around lecture theatres for surprised students to enjoy as a way of marking the national event.

Random Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Chrissie Aresti. Picture: GREGG BROWNRandom Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Chrissie Aresti. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A flurry of social media messages and emails helped spread the word just minutes before it started, and the team already has other random acts lined up for stressful periods this year such as exams.

The university’s foundation board had a pot of £18,000 to offer societies, departments and SU projects that bid for it, resulting in more than £100,000 worth of requests.

Random Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Rachael Gilbey. Picture: GREGG BROWNRandom Act of Kindness Day at the University of Suffolk. As part of the university's student advice service's Boost project, the students union have organised a series of random acts of kindness at various points since January. Pictured is Rachael Gilbey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Boost project was one of a handful to get the nod, as well as new kit for the university’s netball team in the updated yellow and black colours since it became the University of Suffolk and a mini bus for student trips and sports teams to use.

Celia Edey, chairwoman of the foundation board, said: “It’s lovely to see them excited and it really makes everybody feel good – the SU officers are absolutely brilliant and so committed and creative with what they do, so it is very worthwhile funding this.”

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