Weber State-created cards help people be nice for Civility Day

Thursday , April 12, 2018 - 5:00 AM

OGDEN — Kindness is the cause of a Thursday celebration in Ogden.

World Civility Day will be recognized with a celebration and display of kind acts performed by Ogden residents and Weber State University students.

Thanks to the dream of one woman, hundreds of kind acts were performed in the last week in response to prompts on Civility Quest cards handed out by businesses, organizations and individuals. Organizers hope to inspire many more in the future.

“I wanted to literally have an impact on behavior on a larger scale,” said Teresa Martinez, WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning program coordinator. Martinez developed the idea and invited everyone to collect and finish at least one quest card.

The idea was for Civility Quest to be a fun way to explain what civility was and how Weber State has overcome challenges and come together as a campus.

Her definition of civility is bettering the community, she said.

“It’s having you take that second of instead of complaining about something, you say ‘How can I make this better?’” Martinez said. “It’s a reminder that we have this in ourselves. We tend to forget or choose not to do it. This is a fun way to bring that back.”

Story continues below photo.

Martinez and her supporters recruited 20 Ogden area businesses to hand out the Civility Quest cards.

The cards ask participants to perform acts that range from lending a helping hand to creating a sign about something that sparks their passion. Other cards challenge those who receive them to introduce themselves to three random people or to visit a nonprofit in their community.

Each card — available in both English and Spanish — has a challenge designed to encourage the participant to get involved with people, animals or the environment around them, according to a WSU news release.

Those who wish to use the cards in the future may download them at weber.edu/ccel.els.html.

Participants can share their experiences on social media using hashtags #CivilityIs and #WSUCivilityQuest.

Becky Jo Gesteland, associate dean at the WSU Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities, said she noticed her behavior was different this week as a result of having the Civility Quest cards.

“If you have one of those cards tucked into your pocket or your purse, there is a sense of being kind rather than lashing out,” Gesteland said.

During the week, Gesteland said she was concentrating on using the cards when she started to pull into a parking spot and someone honked at her.

“I made a point of backing up and letting the other person pull in,” she said. “Those little choices we make every day, if we pause for a second, we can make better choices.”

Gesteland also has seen other people pausing this week, she said.

“Having a little physical reminder like that is all it takes,” she said. “It’s a prompt to check your behavior.”

Ogden Downtown Alliance Director Kim Bowsher said in a WSU news release that she hopes Civility Quest will spark a dialogue on what civility is and ways people may better engage with those around them.

“It’s awesome Weber State is asking us, as a community, to participate,” she said.

“Even an act as simple as smiling at strangers can increase the overall feeling of civility within a community — and the Civility Quest Challenge aims to prove it,” according to the WSU news release.

Ogden-area residents are invited to participate in a celebration of participation and civility at 6 p.m. Thursday at WSU Downtown, 2314 Washington Blvd. 

The celebration originally was advertised as taking place at the Ogden Amphitheater but was relocated because of expected inclement weather.

The celebration will include a video that documents many of the acts performed throughout the week as a result of the prompts on the cards, organizers said.

Participants also will be able to visit booths sponsored by vendors who have committed to civility and kindness, people sharing their experiences and food trucks, announcements said.

Also part of the celebration will be a reading from the winner of a civility essay contest, organizers said.

There will be a presentation of a Civility Day proclamation by Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell and members of the City Council.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or on Facebook at Facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

×