The University of Indianapolis introduced a new program this semester titled EPIC Greyhounds. This program, which stands for Engage Positively in Community, aims to promote positive engagement between members of the UIndy campus, Associate Dean of Students Steven Freck said.
The program works by people nominating other members of the UIndy community that have done something good, according to Freck. This can be something as small as picking up trash or helping a student on campus, to something large, like leading a donation drive.
“Some of [the nominees] have helped strangers on campus, like other students… They may not have known each other, [but they] saw someone was in need. [They] sat with someone at lunch who was sitting by themselves,” Freck said. “Just someone who across campus is known as a positive influence, or someone who’s been a really good friend to a particular student.… [It] could be a variety of things. Like I said… even though it’s ‘epic,’ I think we’re looking at EPIC as anything that makes an impact.”
Nominations are collected anonymously through a Google Form. The link to the form can be found in the Friday weekly activities email sent by Freck, on social media and on QR codes on physical postcards in the Student Affairs Office.
Vice President and Chief Inclusion Officer and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Amber Smith, who was also involved with EPIC Greyhounds’ development, said anyone can nominate someone in the UIndy community, even if they are not affiliated with the university.
“We just want it to be someone at UIndy so we can find them and recognize [them],” Smith said. “… I haven’t put any limitations on the nominations; I suppose that if somebody did something kind for someone and they’re a UIndy student and somebody wanted to acknowledge them, I would love to hear about it.”
According to Smith, the Offices of Inclusive Excellence and Retention Strategy, as well as the Office of Student Affairs, were both involved in the process of creating this program. She said that the offices were interested in finding out ways to start the semester with an emphasis on kindness.
Freck said that so far, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Inclusive Excellence has received over 70 nominations. He said that there are a couple of staff members who review nominations and choose a couple of people to highlight each week. The winning people are mentioned in the Friday activities email, are featured on social media and receive a $50 gift card to the UIndy Bookstore.
This program came about from Freck and a few other staff members who wanted to highlight great things happening on campus, he said. By highlighting some of the positive things others are doing across campus, it can help eliminate some of the negativity in the world and Freck is interested to see how this program grows in the coming years.
“… In a world where there’s a lot going on, taking the time to recognize someone for the good work they’re doing is always important,” Freck said. “I think it’s a good reminder that what you do, what you say, how you engage with others, does matter. And so, if you have the choice, engage positively.”
Smith said that the EPIC Greyhounds program helps keep positivity in the front of people’s minds. She said that if others are reminded about it, they will act kindly more often and do it intentionally.
“I think [EPIC Greyhounds] can help the community because it can serve as a regular reminder that what we are doing matters in that we can make a difference in our community. We have that power to do so.”
According to Smith, there are events coming up for EPIC Greyhounds in the future. Smith said that they are planning a community gathering in October, which will feature live music and food.
“Hopefully [it] promotes a positive community here on campus,” said Freck. “We’re all Greyhounds, we’re here to support one another and that we can build on that.”