Promoting civil, empathetic, and respectful communication is the primary goal of Alfred State College’s new Best Foot Forward campaign.
This initiative invites students and employees to take the 10-point Best Foot Forward Civility Pledge and become a positive force for the college by speaking up whenever they view acts of incivility on campus, and by serving as a role model for others to follow. Civility is one of Alfred State’s core principles, and respect is a core value at the college.
Dr. Gregory Sammons, vice president for Student Affairs, said, “The Best Foot Forward initiative is a movement aimed at calling attention to the truth that our words and actions reflect on us as both individuals and members of a shared campus identity. We have a group of student, faculty, and staff influencers who are visibly rolling out this message across the campus. We advocate that putting our best foot forward happens when being intentional about the time and place for our own statements and presentation.”
Sammons noted that unchecked divisive and crass speech only serves to encourage more divisive and crass behaviors.
“We want to be part of a much-needed solution to the challenges facing communities within higher education and throughout the country,” he said. “We believe that can happen by doing the seemingly smallest things the right way.”
To help lead the program, nearly 50 student leaders and select faculty and staff were chosen through a nomination process as positive influencers. These students and employees exhibit the characteristics of respect, civility, and other ideal behaviors.
Recently, Sammons, ASC President Dr. Skip Sullivan, and student government leaders met with the influencers to discuss the campaign. Influencers were also given a campaign T-shirt bearing the Best Foot Forward logo on the front, as well as one of a variety of phrases that capture the spirit of the initiative on the back of the shirt.
Sullivan noted that people judge you by your words and your actions, which is why putting your best foot forward is critical for establishing the way people view you. Speaking to what he can do to put his own best foot forward, Sullivan noted he can model the behavior he wants others to imitate.
“Modeling good behavior, doing what’s right, and considering other people are very important,” he said.
To help spread the word about Best Foot Forward, posters containing information on the pledge, as well as quotations from historical figures, are being placed around both the Alfred and Wellsville campuses. Additionally, several on-campus events are currently being planned to help promote the campaign, including:
- Warm Hearts – Join Health and Wellness Services as they warm hearts from 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 in the Student Leadership Center (SLC) Park Space. Students and staff are welcome to spread warm uplifting messages to themselves and others.
- Kindness Chain – Health and Wellness invites the campus community to participate in a chain of kindness from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 11 in the SLC Park Space. Come to the SLC and take a link of the chain home with you. Each link has a random act of kindness written on it. Alfred State challenges students to complete their act of kindness before the end of the week and share photos on social media using #ASCkindnesschain.
- Kindness Rocks – It started with a rock. Now it’s a movement bringing messages of hope worldwide. The idea is simple: paint inspirational messages on rocks and randomly leave them across a community for others to find. You can keep the rock or share it! It’s a great way to honor the earth on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, from 7-8 p.m. in the SLC Park Space.
For more information, visit www.alfredstate.edu/bff.