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Compliments bring out the best in students

By Jill Chipman '14

November 29, 2012

If you’ve been on Facebook in the past two weeks, you’ve probably noticed the storm of posts to the newest Hamilton creation, “Hamilton Compliments.” While the Hamilton creator is still unknown, he or she was inspired by a similar creation at Trinity. A number of colleges and universities have similar pages as well. The creator was inspired by these kind actions as well as actions at PossePlus retreats. “At the PossePlus Retreats they have a similar idea of ‘warm fuzzies’ and to this day I still look at the ones people wrote for me and smile. Creating a way for people to be nice to each other just seemed like a no-brainer to me,” said the creator of Hamilton Compliments who wishes to remain anonymous.

The idea behind the page is rather simple. Anyone who wishes to compliment a member of the Hamilton community can do so annoynmously by messaging the creator of the page with the name of the person and the compliment. The compliments are then approved and posted to the page for everyone to see. The page boasts: “Being nice has never been so un-creepy before!”

As of this publication, the page has about 1,200 likes which includes several alumni and staff members. There are also over 2,500 compliments posted to the site so far. “I never expected 20 invites to my friends to become 200 likes in 6 hours. It exploded in a way I never expected and it’s been nothing but encouraging,” the creator said.

Some of the compliments are short one-sentence lines while others are paragraphs letting members of the Hamilton community know how appreciated they are. People can write compliments to anyone they wish, from faculty, teams or dorms. There have been several shout outs to Dean Thompson regarding her leadership in the community as well as staff members for their service to the campus. “The fact that Nancy Thompson’s compliments are the most popular on the page speaks to that as well - people seem to respect, admire and revere her passion and hard work,” the creator says.

The idea behind the page is to build a greater sense of cohesiveness among the Hamilton community. As one alumni phrased it “This is a complete 360 from Juicy Campus.”

While no longer active, Juicy Campus, and sites like it, post gossip that occurs on the campus and often alienate or mock individual students. Hamilton Compliments instead offers praise and encouragement to students who make the Hamilton campus what it is.

Leah Berryhill ’13 likes the idea of Hamilton Compliments and echoed the alumni’s statement by saying “I think it’s a great way to boost morale at Hamilton”.

Kathleen Herlihy ’14 echoes Berryhill by noting “I think it is a great testament to what makes Hamilton so special. The fact that so many students went out of their way to express how much they care for one another really says something about the love and support we have in our community.”

The great thing about the project is that the compliments remain anonymous which makes it possible for a student to compliment another that he or she may not know that well but know about and want to let that other student know.
“I think the format - anonymous, written messages - is great for a lot of reasons. You can take the time to think up the kind of thoughtful, meaningful message that can be hard to produce in the middle of a conversation. And truth be told, I feel like there’s a taboo on being overly nice in person - or if there isn’t, we’re all afraid that there is. The anonymity allows us to tell our friends how much you value them without fear of coming across as creepy. And I think the popularity of the page could actually make people less afraid to be so nice in person. If they see how many people appreciate the compliments they’ve written, they’ll probably be more likely to share their kind thoughts on a day to day basis,” said Cooper Creagan ’13.

As long as students continue to contribute, Hamilton Compliments should become a permanent fixture for students.
“My biggest hope now is that we’ll possibly cause some kind of turn around on campus for the better because of the page. When I started I just thought it’d be all fun but now because of all the people who have written I think it’s possible for it to become something even bigger and more amazing,” said the creator.

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