Canisius’ Kait Garrity spreads small acts of kindness at Tedx Buffalo

By Nathan Ress
Griffin Reporter

Tedx Buffalo held its fifth annual convention at Asbury Hall on Delaware Avenue on Thursday. The conference featured several local speakers from Buffalo and the surrounding area. Among this number was Canisius College’s very own Kaitlin Garrity.

Leading into the event, Garrity underwent a long application and selection process lasting almost a year. “Speakers are selected primarily on their passion,” said Keith Krummel, a Tedx volunteer spokesman. He recognized each speaker for their dedication and perseverance through the nearly year-long process of selection and preparation leading into the event.

There was no shortage of passion in Garrity’s talk entitled, “Gratitude Sticks: Why Small Acts of Kindness Matter.” The presentation focused on a social experiment Garrity had conducted at Canisius College. In the experiment, Garrity wanted to focus on small acts of kindness, particularly showing appreciation for others in one’s life. She stuck post-it notes all over campus that stated simply, “Always be love.” The notes were meant to inspire the reader to spread kindness and genuine thanks to those around them. Much to her testament, these notes were very effective, and when interviewed people not only noticed them, but took them to heart.

Garrity hoped that through her experiment, she could break people out of the “social scripts” she saw throughout everyday life. These scripts are often programmed responses to social situations, leading to a type of social shorthand. She holds that through expressing genuine kindness, people are able to free themselves from this trend, opening themselves to their neighbor. These kindnesses will benefit both the giver and receiver of the kindness, creating a community of kindness.

In her talk, Garrity reiterated this idea, and promoted the sticky note as a means of communicating kindness. She recognizes that it can often be difficult to be genuine to another, as a great deal of emotion and meaning is placed on the interaction. This can often be scary and intimidating to some. Garrity’s solution is the sticky note, a small condensed space that can be left for another on a computer, in a drawer, or on a door. After all, Garrity says, “how scary is a 3” by 3” piece of paper?” She promotes this and other small mediums such as text messages as a primary avenue for meaningful personal communication.

Alongside Garrity on the Tedx stage were a variety of local speakers, spanning many demographics. Among them were biologists, poets, and the CEO of People Inc. Tedx Buffalo is a subset of the larger Ted organization, and only one of a number of events in the area. Similar programs include Tedx Youth, and Tedx University at Buffalo. The program focuses on bringing new and exciting ideas to the stage to be presented personally by their creators.

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