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UW-L students turn negative social media into a positive

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – UW-La Crosse students are working to turn a life-threatening social media craze into life-enhancing moments.

In response to “nek-nominations”, eight UW-L students came up with “nice nominations” to challenge others to perform random acts of kindness.

Nek-nominations, which have become popular across the country, is when one person posts a video of themselves on Facebook or Twitter drinking a large amount of alcohol, followed by them nominating a friend to out-do it. These challenges have already been the cause of five deaths in Europe.

Nice nominations began in early March after a group of students first heard of the latest drinking challenge. “We though it was a great initiative to challenge others to do good things as opposed to bad things like we’ve seen with nek-nominations. We wanted to really push to see if people would jump on the challenge of doing something great,” UW-L Recreational Staff Manager Zach Scola said.

Scola and seven other recreational staff employees came up with the idea to nominate their supervisors to perform random acts of kindness.

As a result, their supervisors made stress balls for students before mid-terms. Since then, their supervisors have nominated others within the community and it has also spread to university recreational programs at UW-Whitewater, UW-Madison, UW-Stout, Ohio State, and Central Florida.

“We are really proud. We wanted it to grow, we didn’t want it just to be a UW-L rec thing. We wanted it to grow through the community and through the state and beyond,” Scola said.

Fellow recreational staff manager Cara Knipfer said nice nominations have helped Eagle Recreation Center regulars and co-workers more aware of “Make-a-Difference Mondays”.

“Telling someone that you’ve made a difference in my day is rewarding in itself. Knowing that I made a difference in someone’s day is just really nice,” Knipfer said.

Also known as “MAD Mondays”, recreational staff employees encourage one another to reward their student peers who choose to go to the Eagle Recreational Center with stickers.

“I feel good that I feel I’m making the rec a better place to come. I think everyone on staff wants to help make the rec a place where people want to come and spend their time,” Knipfer said.

Knipfer said nice nominations is ongoing, and she hopes to see more people come up with their own random acts of kindness.

Intramural Supervisor Nathan Barnhart said he hopes to spread the word about nice nominations to other colleges and universities at the upcoming National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) national conference in Nashville on April 16th.

If you’d like to know more about UW-L’s nice nominations, follow them on Twitter @UWLrecsports and like their Facebook page at facebook.com/uwlrecsports.

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