Friday, February 23, 2024

The College of Education (COE) SoWell (Social Wellness) Committee formed in the fall of 2023 with a mission to plan and promote events and activities to create a culture of physical and emotional health for College of Education (COE) faculty and staff. The committee of 12 faculty and staff members solicited ideas from the rest of the college to determine the activities and events of most interest. One idea was the delivery of candy grams, which the committee believed would align well with National Random Acts of Kindness Week starting on February 11.

Two committee members spearheaded the candy grams project, and an email was sent out to the college listserv asking people to send a note to another COE faculty or staff member expressing what they appreciate about that person. They were encouraged to consider sending a note to someone they might not interact with on a daily basis. A link to a Qualtrics survey was included in the email. The survey questions were short and sweet – who is the note for, what do you want to say, and who is the note from? Individuals had the option to keep it anonymous as well. People could write as many notes as they wanted in the two-week time span that the survey was live.

The participation was amazing! At the end of the two weeks, 683 candy grams were printed, with everyone receiving at least one, including those working remotely. Each person received their candy gram note(s) in one envelope with a Tootsie Pop attached. This approach reduced the number of envelopes and candy that needed to be purchased, making the project more manageable for those assembling the candy grams. The project was low cost (approximately $150) with a high impact. Faculty and staff felt appreciated and valued as they read their candy grams, and they also enjoyed the process of writing to others, and knowing their words provided encouragement and support to their co-workers.

Some of the comments we received were “this is so amazing,” “thank you so much for doing this,” “thank you for including everyone in the COE,” and “we hope this becomes a tradition”! We can’t wait to do this again next year.

If you would like to implement this idea in your own college or department and want more information, please reach out to Dorian Aragon or Renae Miller in the College of Education or liveWELL at For more ideas on random acts of kindness, please visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation at