World Kindness Day

Post-it notes stuck on a wall with words of affirmation written all over them
A life-sized, colorful poster of the word KIND with a person standing, arms outstretched, as the letter "I".

“Kindness is the language which a deaf can hear and blind can see.”

Mark Twain

Reflections on Kindness Day 2021

Everyday should be a kindness day but celebrating International Kindness Day with the entire world on November 13 had its own meaning. I was grateful to see two locations on Western grounds, serving hot chocolate and tea, on a rainy cold Friday morning (November 12) and spreading the message of kindness.

So, what is kindness? Simply stated, kindness is acknowledgment of others’ existence by being considerate of their welfare without being judgmental. Kindness makes people seen and heard and that is why it touches the core of humanity...

Read more: Reflections on Kindness Day 2021

What is World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day was launched in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, and is celebrated annually on November 13. The objective of World Kindness Day is to “highlight good deeds in the community, focusing on the positive power and common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and zip codes.” (Wikipedia)

If you would like more information about WWU Kindness Day please email us at

“If you define kindness as being nice, considerate, or friendly, then kindness is not enough,” said Jim Graham, psychology professor and member of the Kindness Day Organizing Committee.

“Given the historic and current issues facing the United States, kindness has to be bigger than that. The practice of kindness needs to include a willingness to stand up and take action on important issues and to hold ourselves and our community accountable for how we treat others. I’m excited about the panel. I expect the panelists will challenge the contemporary notion of kindness and encourage us to expand our notions of what kindness means and how kindness looks. Sometimes, kindness means a warm smile and an encouraging word. Sometimes it means speaking up for social justice and taking action against oppression.”

A Conversation on Kindness

A conversation on kindness with Uzma Randhawa

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee and graduate student in audiology, sits down with Uzma Ahmad Randhawa. Uzma is a trained clinical psychologist and counselor among being a committed advocate for vulnerable families and children. In her interview, Uzma shares quotes that are important reminders, as well as the impact of simple kind acts - even as simple as a homecooked meal!

A conversation on kindness with Steve Swan

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee and graduate student in audiology, sits down with Steve Swan. Steve is a former university Vice President and has been involved in several community organizations through Whatcom County. In his interview, Steve discusses the role of his faith in understanding kindness and the importance of thinking about others.

A conversation on kindness with Sislena Ledbetter

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee and graduate student in audiology, sits down with Dr. Sislena Ledbetter. Sislena is WWU's executive director of counseling, health, and wellness and is a social psychologist by training. In her interview, Sislena discusses the concept of radical self-care and describes the impact of placing ourselves in someone else's shoes.

A conversation on kindness with Laurel Ballew

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee, sits down with Laural Ballew. Laural is the executive director of American Indian/Alaksa Native and First Nations Relations & Tribal Liaison to the President. In her interview, Laural discusses the role her family has played in helping her understand kindness and how she leads others with mentorship and love.

A conversation on kindness with Leonard Jones

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee and graduate student in audiology, sits down with Leonard Jones. Leonard is the current director of WWU's university residences, a role in which he oversees residential education and housing on campus. In his interview, Leonard underscores the importance of losing our judgments of others and remaining flexible, always being prepared to learn.

A conversation on kindness with Celeste Mergens

Hunter Stuehm, current WWU Trustee and graduate student in audiology, sits down with Celeste Mergens. Celeste is Chief Executive Officer of Days for Girls and an international leader among social causes. In her interview, Celeste discusses the role others have played in her success and the importance of leading our lives with gratitude.

Student Projects

Want to learn more about the science of kindness or ways to get involved?  Check out these student projects from Professor Christie Scollon’s Positive Psychology class where students applied their creative skills to bring to life some of the research from positive psychology.

A Virtues Approach to Children's Thinking about Kindness

This is a presentation that Dr. Michael Warren did on children's perceptions of kindness at the Association for Moral Education Conference. Michael is a NTT faculty in the psychology department and is currently a post-doc up in UBC. In addition to being a very kind person himself, he does great research!  In the study, they found that children who spontaneously generated a more diverse array of distinct ways to show kindness to others were viewed as more kind by their peers and teachers. In addition, among seven kindness-relevant virtues that emerged in children's responses, Compassion and Inclusion were the two strongest predictors of how kind the child was viewed by their peers. Kindness starts early! 


Watch Dr. Warrens Presentation Here

Kindness Day in the Past

Western’s 2019 celebration of Kindness Day was a product of a summer working retreat for the Senior Management Administrative Resource Team (SMART). SMART membership includes the Assistants to the President, Vice Presidents, Assistant Secretary to the Board, and Assistant to the Assistant Attorneys General. In an effort to provide a positive experience for our campus community during what can often be a stressful time of year, the committee set up four different Kindness Booths around campus in the morning to distribute buttons with kindness messages, collect kindness sticky notes, and also served hot cider and hot cocoa. In the afternoon, there was also a Kindness Fair in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room with many activities, a Kindness Wall with all of the sticky note messages, and students from Professor Christie Scollon’s Psych 377 Positive Psychology presenting information and activities about the science of kindness.