It’s not only news coverage that tends to focus on negative events; so does what we talk about with our friends on a daily basis. We complain about the bus we missed, the exam we did poorly on, or the guy who took 10 minutes to pay with nickels and dimes in the grocery store. A new group at Trent aims to curb this trend with a focus on sharing positive events and stories.
Paying homage to the 2000 movie of the same name, Trent: Pay It Forward was started by Dominic Mangialardi, Matthew Harwood, and Dillon Howard for a fourth year Business class entitled “The Legacy Project.” It provides a space for students to share stories about their good deeds, or the good deeds of others, and talk about how these little actions can have huge positive impacts.
The ambition is twofold for Mangialardi. Not only does he want people to talk about the good things that have happened to them, “we want to get people to inspire each other to do good things too.”
“We want people to say ‘hey, look at what’s been done already’ and then ask ‘what are you doing?’”
The group’s focus is not to suggest actions for people to take, but rather they hope to facilitate a conversation in which people can think creatively and come up with their own ways of being kind to others.
In fact, part of the group’s inspiration comes from a story that touched Mangialardi. He told Arthur a story about someone in line at Tim Horton’s who bought the order for the person in line behind them. When the person found out that their order had been paid for already, they in turn paid for the order of someone behind them, and this started a chain that kept going.
“It would be really nice to see something like that happen at Trent.”
Mangialardi tells Arthur that in creating the group he and his team were hoping to do something that was both familiar to people, but also unique from the other projects in the class. At the same time, Trent: Pay It Forward has been able to assist the other groups in the class, mainly charitable organizations, by publicizing and drawing attention to the positivity of their events.
When asked why Trent needs a group like this, Mangialardi pointed towards the introversion that can occur in our information age. “You need a group like this, especially on Facebook, because it’s become so easy for people to just hide behind their computers.
“Not a lot of people will go out of their way to help somebody out. Our group is trying to pull those people out and show them that they don’t have to be shy.”
So far the group has been a great success. As of March 23, after less than three weeks on Facebook, the group has 171 likes, and a few stories being shared by users each week.
One user wrote to thank “Ralph in IT for taking 2 hours out of your day to jimmy this [computer] together and get my thesis work back for me!”
Another told the story of how she “walked out of McDonald’s and saw this girl’s bus pass laying on the sidewalk. [I] picked it up and looked around and saw the girl halfway down the road waiting for the bus frantically looking through her bag. So I ran to catch up with her and gave it back to her just as the bus was pulling up to pick her up.”
The group also encourages people on Twitter to use #TrentCares to connect their stories with one another.
As far as reach goes, Mangialardi informs Arthur that some of these posts have reached upwards of 300 people, and mostly through viral means. When someone likes or comments on a post it shows up in all of their friends’ news feeds.
However, Mangialardi notes that he would like to see more people sharing their stories on the Facebook wall and encourages anyone who has done a good deed to do so.
You can check out Trent: Pay It Forward, read about the good things happening at Trent, or tell your own story at facebook.com/TrentCares.