Wartburg students spread kindness

Robin Evans stood on Bremer Avenue as part of the Room of Love’s project. — Laura DePenning/ TRUMPET
Robin Evans stood on Bremer Avenue as part of the Room of Love’s project. — Laura DePenning/ TRUMPET

While it may be getting colder outside, some Wartburg students were looking to warm people’s hearts on March 22 with a sign of love.

Wartburg students gathered at the sidewalks of 4th Street and Bremer Avenue, holding signs with encouraging and uplifting messages aimed towards commuters.

“The Room of Love was first started as a welcoming program for freshmen and even more so as a way to spread ideas of respect and love throughout the entire campus so that everyone feels welcomed,” Emma Hellevik said.

Though the participating members focus mostly on students’ needs, Wartburg faculty has also been at the receiving end of the group’s positive messages.

“The professors and staff here put so much effort and time into each one of us students to succeed. I thought it was great to have students write letters just to say thank you for the work they have done,” Alycia Sterenberg said. “They are shaping our lives in order for us to be great.”

The group has worked to move beyond the Wartburg College campus and spread the message of love in the Waverly community with their most recent activity, Signs of Kindness.

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“We decided this month that we would reach out to the community and not just only to Wartburg,” Cailee Jo Whitefield said.

This is not the first time Waverly commuters have been greeted by cheerful Wartburg sign holders.

“We decided we would do a similar thing to what the orientation staff and the RAs did this year where they held signs and went out to Bremer and 4th and just promoted kindness around the community,” Whitefield said.

Holly Hejlik, who is a member of the suite, said she enjoyed seeing so many people smile.

“Sometimes it’s nice to know other people are thinking about you, especially if you have had a long day,” Hejlik said.

“I think it made people feel good that although we may not know them, we want to help them out anyway.”

The Room of Love has received a large amount of support for the Signs of Kindness event.

“The most rewarding part during the signs of kindness was when people would honk or smile or the kids that would wave out the windows. That was really wonderful,” Hellevik said.

“For the suite overall, it has been rewarding to see the community Wartburg has to offer and how everyone really, truly enjoys each other,” Hellevik said.

Whitefield said she feels that this type of service is needed.

“If nobody stepped up and did the service love based things, the community would just be kind of a sad, not friendly place. Waverly, ever since I came here from Texas, has been a great place to be,” Whitefield said.

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