In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, initiatives promoting kindness and service have earned a prominent position nationwide. And with Georgetown Individuals Vocal and Energetic for Service — or GIVES — establishing its presence on campus, Georgetown is no exception.
The club was founded by Phil Dearing (COL ’15) and Brigit Goebelbecker (SFS ’15), who both hope to create a kinder, happier attitude on campus.
“Our mission is to … involve students in creating an environment of gratitude, happiness and service,”Dearing said. “You have the energy and the ability: you want to harness and do something good with it.”
According to Dearing, GIVES encourages students to collectively plan acts of kindness that will make others smile. But rather than focusing on the D.C. community like most Georgetown service clubs, GIVES aims to first serve the Georgetown community.
“[Georgetown] is a Jesuit university, and everyone wants to do service.” Goebelbecker said. “We want to up the atmosphere of Georgetown as a whole.”
At their first meeting Saturday, the club planned to participate in Free Hug Day, draw cheerful chalk artwork in Red Square, leave encouraging notes in Lauinger Library, give out candy next Halloween as “reverse trick-or-treating” and celebrate Star Wars Day on May 4.
“It’s just doing a little bit and having a lot of fun,” Dearing said. “Everyone … is caught up with their studies, caught up with trying to get a job. So many things distract you. It is really easy to let being appreciative and giving back fall by the wayside.”
GIVES is also encouraging its members to participate in 26 Acts, a nationwide movement inspired by the Newtown shootings. The movement urges participants to perform 26 acts of kindness between Feb. 4 and Feb. 17 in remembrance of the Newtown victims.
Dearing stressed that GIVES, which meets weekly, is not a large time commitment and will not turn away any interested students.
“We just want to make it super easy for people to get involved,” Dearing said.
GIVES member Aisha Babalakin (SFS ’15) agreed.
“I think it’s really important it’s not so much of a time commitment,” Babalakin said.
Currently, the club is focusing on small acts on campus, though Dearing expressed interest in expanding and working in the D.C. community.
“Long range, it’s possible we’ll be doing big days of service more out in the community,” Dearing said.