Monday, May 16, 2011

Purdue Graduation & the Purdue Compliment Guys

On Sunday I helped check-in and line up Purdue students who were graduating from the College of Health and Human Sciences. I have never done this before so did not know what to expect. WOW, there were a lot of black robes and hats in one place!!!!!!!! It was a really neat experience to see close to 1000 capped and gowned students in one place. I've not been in my job with Student Services for very long, but I have gotten to know a few of the students who have been in. Seeing them there on Sunday, ready to "get on with their lives" was a really neat feeling. I put myself in their place and could feel how exciting it must be to FINALLY be graduating from college and starting a new phase of life. It also struck me that all those students, plus those from the other 4 graduation ceremonies (more than 6,600 students were candidates to receive degrees in five weekend ceremonies at the West Lafayette campus) have been and are looking for jobs! Multiple that by all the colleges in Indiana and then multiply that by all the colleges in the United States and you have A LOT of people looking for a job in an economy that does not have a whole lot of jobs to offer. Tough odds.

Also graduating was one of the two "Purdue Compliment Guys". I've been following their story for the past couple of months and it is a really great story. These two students, for the past three years, have stood outside on the sidewalk and given compliments to people who pass by. Kudos to them!!!! More people should do this.

I learned that Purdue has a name for the sidewalks that go across the Memorial Mall - the Hello Walk! Originally one winding walkway from the main entrance to University Hall, the Hello Walk now includes all the sidewalks that cross the Memorial Mall. As indicated by the name, people are encouraged to smile and say hello to everyone they meet along the way. I love this concept!!!Instead of looking down when you walk, look up and look AT people and smile. It really does make a difference in your life and in the life of the person that you acknowledge, just by simply smiling. Remember, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile!

Here is the article about the Compliment Guys:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Compliment Guy Cameron Brown will make his last appearance as a Purdue student on the Elliott Hall of Music stage during Purdue's last spring 2011 commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (May 15).

University President France A. Córdova invited him to take part in the ceremony at which Brown, of Toledo, Ohio, will receive his bachelor's degree in management. Córdova invited Brown when she visited the guys during their final free compliments session on campus.

Together with friend Brett Westcott of Des Plains, Ill., Brown has been delivering free compliments each week to all passersby for three years from their post at the center of campus. Their unique example of goodwill and perseverance earned them international notoriety and invitations to appear on national TV shows, including "Oprah Winfrey," "Good Morning America," "Fox & Friends" and "Today."

After the national fanfare that included a popular YouTube video the Compliment Guys spent a summer on a Kodak-sponsored tour to deliver compliments and prompt smiles from New Orleans to New York.

"We just wanted to brighten people's days," Brown said. "People could have assumed we were insincere, but we have been here for three years doing what we love to do. It's been awesome."

Westcott hatched the free compliments idea, but Brown insisted on joining him the next week and every week that followed. Brown has begun interviewing for jobs, but Westcott will return in the fall for his final year of civil engineering studies.

"I'm glad we stuck with it. It's made a difference. You don't see people walking by here without a smile," said Westcott, who will not continue dishing out compliments without Brown. "All along it has been the Compliment Guyssss, not Compliment Guy, and I just can't go on without Cam."

The Purdue Compliment Guys have spurred imitators around the nation including at Purdue, Washington University and University of California at Los Angeles. It even prompted a Florida middle school to launch an anti-bullying campaign built on giving free compliments.

"If other people want to do it, I'm a hundred percent supportive," Brown said. "It's great."

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED these guys! Bummer that they're not going to continue! Thanks for posting about them.