D.C. Diary: Thanks but no thanks

November 30, 1999
Thurston Hall, fifth floor
11 p.m.

Upon returning from Thanksgiving break, residents of Thurston Hall were greeted in every stairway and elevator and on every floor with signs advertising Thurston Hall Gratitude Week.

Assuming that I probably was not alone in coming back to school a little jaded in the gratitude department after a weekend of giving thanks, I went in search of answers to the questions on everyone’s mind: What, precisely, were we supposed to be gracious for now? How were we to show the gratitude these posters assumed we were all exuding? And the mantra of college students everywhere: Do we really have to do this?

As Do something nice for your floor day of Gratitude Week drew to a close, all seemed quiet on my floor. I was summoned from my room and the stress of final exam studying by what sounded like a stampede. Thinking that it might be some overenthusiastic students in the middle of showing gratitude, I immediately grabbed my reporter’s notebook and went straight to the scene.

Apparently, someone tampered with the fire alarm in the hallway. This caused the culprit and accomplices to flee expediently, leaving only the annoying floorwide hum of the alarm, which is enough to make anyone want to make a mad dash out of the building. Hmm. Real nice. I did, however, encounter a group of girls in the hallway confusion who believed they had embraced the true meaning of Gratitude Week.

I baked cookies when I was home, and I shared them with my neighbors and my roomies, Sona Balachandran said. Nearby friends Beth Levine and Shari Cooperman said they shared candy with friends in the spirit of graciousness.

December 1, 1999
Thurston Hall Office
4 p.m.

Now it’s Do something nice for your friends day. The office is the site of a jar of candy with a sign reading Appreciate someone: help yourself to some goodies to share with others. So exactly where is all this appreciation coming from? My community facilitator, James Moniz, provided some answers.

`Gratitude Week’ they came up with because we had our (community facilitator) appreciation day, he said. They really wanted to do a program that rewarded residents. This is just something to take the stress off finals and stuff.

Moniz explained that CFs of the upper half (floors six through nine) of Thurston Hall organized the week as part of a monthly program they provide for residents. The month’s goal, he said, was personal development.

When asked about the week’s effect on his personal development, first floor resident Walker Williams replied, It’s been `Gratitude Week’?

In the end, has Gratitude Week forced us all to take time out and be thankful in this stressful time of year? Or has it merely manifested the apathy of the residents of Thurston Hall? The week will cap off with a special thanks to YOU! the posters promise. Looking to Thursday (Do something nice for yourself day), this reporter is gracious for the humor in the compulsory kindness of college students.

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