University Community ‘Likes’ New Facebook Page

A student created “GW Compliments” to provide a platform for students, faculty and staff to publicly show their appreciation for one another.

December 04, 2012

A new social project rippling through colleges around the world has found its way onto the George Washington campus with the Facebook page “GW Compliments.”

Its aim? To brighten your day.

“I want the project to highlight how much we all appreciate each other at this university and ignite the kindness that sometimes sits unused in all of us,” said the page’s creator, a GW student who asked to remain anonymous to keep the focus on the page and not the person who runs it. “We all have so much potential to make people feel happy and loved, and I wanted the GW Compliments page to be a catalyst for doing so.”

Students, faculty and staff alike can send a shout-out simply by writing a direct message to its creator. All compliments are kept anonymous, and no compliment is too small. They range from a thank you to “the little kids running around the Kogan fountain this morning with nothing but joy spread across their faces” to kudos to stellar professors, the “darling” woman who always gives an “unfailing ‘Have a blessed day!’ ” in Crawford Hall and the Starbucks employees who have to “deal with cranky exhausted GW students.”

Launched about a week ago, GW Compliments already has nearly 1,000 “likes” and its creator said its inbox has received hundreds of messages. They average about 30 per day, but 80 per day when it first launched was not unusual. It makes for at least two hours of work each day for its creator—or more. Last week, the student posted as late as 4 a.m. on some evenings.

Started at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (which now boasts more than 4,300 “likes”) in September, the “compliments” pages are spreading rapidly. They’re now at universities including Columbia, University of Virginia, Penn State, Yale, Princeton—the list goes on. It caught the GW creator’s attention after a friend posted about Tulane University’s compliments page. High schools are even joining the project now.

GW Compliments is “what social media is all about—creating community,” said Jon Hussey, assistant director for digital marketing strategy.

“Especially for new students, college can be intimidating,” Mr. Hussey said. “But with such a simple concept, in less than a week this experiment has made the university seem like a community of close friends. It’s the perfect thing for the holidays and to get students through finals.”

Campus compliments have reached beyond cyberspace, too. Its creator said GW community members are complimenting each other in person because of something they saw on the page. And at least a few encouraging Post-its have found their way onto signs and parking meters on campus—possibly another result of the Facebook page.

“I want people to feel better about the GW community and themselves,” the creator said. “I want people to see the true warmth that we all have as students here and to appreciate the hype students can get over something positive.”