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Kindness Counts: New Award Celebrates Caring and Community

Photo/Derek Palmer

By Zenebou Sylla ‘22

An anonymous donor has collaborated with the Spirit of Emerson Committee to debut a new campus-wide award in Spring 2020 celebrating the act of kindness.  

The Kindness Award “honors a person or persons who spreads unconditional, unwavering, and selfless kindness among the Emerson community,” according to the committee.

Jaqi Holland, chair of the Spirit of Emerson Committee, will participate in choosing the winner(s) for both the Spirit of Emerson Award, as well as for the first Kindness Award. Recipients can be students, faculty, staff, or any other members of the Emerson community. 

Holland describes the award as being unique in that it allows people to focus on the positivity and goodwill going on around us in our community, instead of the tension and hostility that is so rampant in the world today.

“We’re buried under an avalanche of negativity and bad news, and it just feels like we need kindness right now in the world,” Holland said.

The winner(s) of the Kindness Award will also be awarded $200 in which the donor intends to cover at least for the next three years.

Holland, an assistant director of academic support at the Writing & Academic Resource Center who won the Spirit of Emerson award in 2016, is not only interested in who wins the award, but also what they also represent. 

“I’m excited because it will celebrate someone who’s maybe innately kind that kind of flies under the radar,” she said. “They might not get any recognition otherwise. …They might not be looking for it, so that’s kind of a nice way to think of it.”

Nominations are open until January 31, 2020, and can be submitted either through the Kindness Award website or by email to the committee chair, Jaqi Holland ( or her assistant, Brandon Smith (

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