Office of Student Life

Kindness at Ohio State

Student Life's Kindness Initiative

October 24, 2023

Now more than ever, the world needs kindness. Acts of kindness can make the world a happier place for everyone. 

The Student Life Kindness Initiative brings that spirit to Ohio State. The effort has organized events and initiatives that have left a lasting impression on the university community and beyond. The initiative showcases the power of collective action, the strength of shared values and the positive impact that kindness can have.  

Among the Initiative’s projects each year are the Be Kind Food Packaging events, the Grow Kindness plant giveaway, a service project at the site of Ohio State’s football bowl game, the website, care packages for the unhoused in the University District, Instagram Walls and the Buckeye Love campaign featuring random acts of kindness. 

“Service is something you do to make your community great,” said Victoria Mabatah, a molecular genetics major who participated in a recent Student Life Kindness Initiative event. 

Kindness can not only brighten someone else’s day but can also help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, along with promoting social connection and improving overall life satisfaction. In fact, according to a study from researchers at Ohio State University published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, performing acts of kindness may even result in greater social well-being than techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat depression and anxiety. 

One of the largest programs by Student Life’s Kindness Initiative is an annual Be Kind Food Packaging Project, where hundreds of people gather on campus to pack meals that are then distributed to areas of low food security around the state.  

Since the program’s launch five years ago, the Buckeye community has contributed to the distribution of 1.5 million meals to people in need. In 2023 alone, more than 700 students, staff, and alumni came together to assemble an astounding 205,000 meals to be donated to nonprofit organizations in Harden, Allen and Marion counties.   

“I know we have a lot of food deserts in Ohio, so packing lunches like this is really important,” Mabatah noted, emphasizing the significant role these efforts play in addressing local issues.  

"I like how there are teams and how you're able to meet new people and work together towards one goal of helping the community," said Amelia Moll, a political science student who participated in the Be Kind Food Packing Project. 

Another Kindness Initiative project involves succulent plants. The Grow Kindness plant giveaway features locations across campus for students and others to assemble and receive two free succulent plants, one to keep and the other to give away as an act of kindness. In 2023, nearly 10,000 plants were given away in partnership with CFAES.  

The program is important because scientific evidence also shows that caring for houseplants is good for improvements in mood, cognition, reduced stress and enhanced overall well-being (Hall and Knuth, March 2019).  

As the Student Life Kindness Initiative expands and grows, it spreads the spirit of kindness throughout the Ohio State community and beyond.    

More information is available online at  

You can become involved. Sign up online to be notified of upcoming Kindness Initiative events and opportunities