December 16, 2013

Accounting Students Pay It Forward with Acts of Kindness

Before letting her students leave the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration for Thanksgiving, Jean Riley-Schultz, assistant professor of practice of accountancy, offered her students an extra credit opportunity with a twist. She challenged her Introductory Accounting I students to perform an act of kindness – doing something for someone without expecting anything in return – over the break.

“In the last class before Thanksgiving, I talked about the many blessings we have and shared the idea of doing a random act of kindness,” she said. “At the College of Business Administration, we want students to Start Something, and my students went out to do simple things that impact people in their communities.”

Acts of kindness happen numerous times every day, but how does a business student want to make someone’s day special? Some of the students’ acts of kindness were random, split-second decisions like allowing their little sister to have the last ladle of gravy at Thanksgiving dinner, speaking to a younger child about bullying or paying for the next customers’ coffee. Others planned to volunteer, assist or impact another in different ways.

Spending the break with her family in Grand Island, Neb., Stephanie Hernandez, a junior management major, helped her grandmother clean her attic. Together they went through boxes and came across photo albums filled with memories.
Nick Sandberg

Nick Sandberg helps pack meals at a local shelter


“It was nice seeing how my siblings and I have all grown up and reliving memories with my family. It’s important to do acts of kindness, because many people feel like this generation has lost this value,” she said. “I will admit at first I only wanted the extra credit, but doing a kind act made me feel great. Now I want to do many more kind things for my family and strangers.”

Wanting to make a difference in his community with his family, Nick Sandberg, a sophomore business administration major, packaged nearly 700 meals to be distributed to local food shelters in and around his hometown of West Des Moines, Iowa.

“Having volunteered at events like this many times before, I was happy to be able to participate again and make a positive difference with my family,” he said. “People go hungry every day, but we can help prevent some of that with packaging events like these.”

Justin Kyser

Justin Kyser honors veterans

Justin Kyser, a junior business administration major from Beatrice, Neb., used his Thanksgiving to thank veterans. He coordinated a two aircraft flyover during the annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game between the Huskers and University of Iowa on Nov. 29. Kyser, who is president and founder of the student Nebraska Aviation Organization, flew lead with another student flying right wing in an Echelon Right formation over Memorial Stadium right after the National Anthem.

“Because of the sequester, the military can no longer provide flyovers to honor veterans, and we felt it was important to continue to honor our veterans,” he said. “I hope our flyover allowed veterans to feel that they and their sacrifices are valued.”

Each of these acts demonstrates the power of human kindness, and Riley-Schultz hopes students will continue doing good deeds.

“Many students talk about how strong the CBA community is and doing these random acts of kindness can only make it stronger,” she said.

With winter break fast approaching, students who are inspired to Start Something by doing a random act of kindness can share their experiences on social media with the hashtag #CBAGivesBack and #UNLCBA.