It’s a tale as old as the four-year degree: as studies take them deeper into their fields and the pressure to compete builds up, college students start feeling a little down. The pitfall of today’s stress-prone campus culture is that it’s gone digital – and with faces focused more on screens than each other, there’s often little time devoted to face-to-face compassion.
This reality inspired a class of third-year undergraduates at Queen’s University in Ontario to partner with faculty to make and manage a Facebook profile just in time for finals in 2011. Simply called Queen’s U Compliments, the account is dedicated to accepting anonymously submitted compliments addressed to anyone in the campus community and posting them for all to see.
With the success of their Facebook campaign, the concept of Queen’s U Compliments went viral at the end of 2012. According to a Nov. 29 article on Time.com, now more than 56 colleges and universities in both Canada and the U.S. have started their own – including, on Dec. 14, Cabrini.
Like many college’s compliments profiles and pages, the creator of Cabrini Compliments wishes to remain anonymous, explaining that she’s talked to people “who think that the [profile] is so successful because I am anonymous.”
In just over a month, Cabrini Compliments has amassed over 800 friends and continues to get a steady stream of compliments. One quick look at Villanova Compliments shows how successful Cabrini’s is by comparison – with almost three times as many friends and despite being created three weeks earlier, it’s only posted 26 compliments. Cabrini’s account, however, has posted over 80 compliments with many dedicated to faculty and staff – and even alumni.
Cabrini Compliments’ creator didn’t even own a computer when she started the account – she managed it on her phone for the first few weeks. She credits seeing her sister’s school’s page, NYU Compliments, for why she made one for Cabrini, though she was concerned the idea wouldn’t take off like it did at NYU. Luckily enough, it did.
“I love reading and posting the messages on the Facebook wall because I know that each word is meant and that the compliment may have the ability turn that person’s day around,” she said.
Although she has chosen to withhold her identity, she tells us that she’s a senior education major and, due to personal circumstances, she has to take the semester off but plans on returning.
“I think that Cabrini Compliments just provides a safe place for people to post,” she said. “This page is selfless. It allows people to think about others who are special to them and deserve to be recognized. By keeping the anonymity, it puts more attention on the person being complimented and less pressure on the complimenter.”
She hopes to see Cabrini Compliments continue to succeed, specifically hoping that it’ll be still be around this time next year.
“I love this school,” she said. “I have never been upset or disappointed with the lack of compliments. I just know that there are people here that are extraordinary and that they should be recognized for it over and over again. People can be negative at times, but if you look around, there is so much love and an overall sense of community here.”