A new project in the Exploring Elements of Leadership class has influenced students to complete good deeds around campus and in the Waverly community.
Students have been given a period of time to complete a good deed for members of Wartburg College or community members within the Cedar Valley. They have complete freedom to do whatever type of deed they want. After completing their random act of kindness they are required to post about it and their experience on the Facebook page that sparked the project idea.
CedarValley Deeds, the Facebook page dedicated to sharing good deeds that people have done throughout the area, was the inspiration for the project. Leadership Professor Mandie Sanderman first learned about the page just over a year ago.
“At that time, CedarValley Deeds was a profile, not a page, and you were able to ‘friend’ the page to keep up on posts. Because I was the ‘friend of a friend’ of the original founder of CedarValley Deeds, it appeared on my timeline,” she said.
The page was started by a founder from the area who wishes to remain anonymous. He strives to keep the focus of the page not on him, but on the act of paying it forward. He was inspired to start Cedar Valley Deeds because of his desire to help others and to try and get more people into that mind-set.
For him, expanding the organization to Wartburg just made sense to reach a younger generation.
“I truly believe that there really isn’t a better place to have Cedar Valley Deeds expand,” he said. “There are young adult minds full of fresh ideas from all over the country. If it can start with them it has no limits!”
Part of the leadership program is the concept of triangulated learning which includes traditional learning, peer learning and experiential learning.
Sanderman said traditional and peer learning are often easy to accomplish but experiential is somewhat harder to include in the course.
“I wanted to ensure that my course was able to utilize all three approaches,” Sanderman said.
“I wanted an experiential learning component that would introduce students to the idea of altruism and servant leadership, yet still fit within the context of the course. CedarValley Deeds was a perfect fit for this.”
Alyssa Hewitt, a student, has already found a lesson to take away from the project.
“I think it’s a good way to learn about other people in the community and that different people have needs different than our own. If we are able to help them we should,” Hewitt said.
Although there already have been many posts on the page about deeds ranging from leaving extra quarters in the laundry room or buying someone’s meal at the Den, Hewitt had one that stuck out to her.
“I liked the deed where people put candy and a note on some study tables and desks for people who needed a study break or a little pick-me-up,” Hewitt said.
Sanderman hopes that her students will continue to find ways to serve their communities after the project finishes.
“This project will ideally give students a small taste of the wonderful feeling of accomplishment and pride that one can take in providing an anonymous act of kindness for someone else,” she said.