Duq seniors create online community to promote kindness

Courtesy of Will Huisentruit and Jack Knapton The pair of seniors in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business hope to spread joy with their new website.
Courtesy of Will Huisentruit and Jack Knapton The pair of seniors in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business hope to spread joy with their new website.

Kellen Stepler | Features Editor


At 2 a.m. on Saturday, March 7, Duquesne seniors Will Huisentruit and Jack Knapton were messaging back and forth about how fun it would be to start a company together.

The two business students really couldn’t come up with anything, so they decided to hold the conversation until the morning.

But, as Huisentruit recalls, he couldn’t stop thinking about the idea.

“My mind was racing until it finally hit me,” Huisentruit said. “We should start a community of people on both social media and on the Internet to encourage people to do one nice act per day to help spread smiles.”

Huisentruit said that the ideas just started flowing at this point, and he sent text after text to Knapton explaining the idea.

“I came up with the name, ‘Nice Thing Per Day’ because it is simple, catchy and explains the premise of the idea easily,” Huisentruit said.

The vision of Nice Thing Per Day is to “provide daily reminders and encouragement to be nice to those in your local communities, and, in turn, build up confidence and self-esteem within each member of our own community to be nice to your loved ones, your personal networks, your local environment and, most importantly, yourselves.”

Huisentruit made social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter for people to post and share their kindness in their lives.

“My goal with the content I post on Instagram is to get people to the point where ‘when the sun goes down at the end of the day, they can look back and smile,’ because they were able to be kind to themselves, those around them or their local environment,” Huisentruit said. “I want [the Twitter account] to be a place where people can share their stories of how they were able to participate in kindness and their reactions to that amazing feeling.”

Currently, the Instagram account has 184 followers. Huisentruit is still waiting to share the Twitter page until there is a bigger community and he has also purchased a website domain, www.nicethingperday.com, that will direct people to look at the featured stories in more detail along with providing links if others want to contribute to their efforts.

“I am starting this community because I believe it is an idea that people can really latch onto,” Huisentruit said.

Although Nice Thing Per Day is just getting started, Huisentruit plans for it to grow to a point where he can host community service events under the brand name to give back to the community.

“Overall, my ultimate goal is to celebrate kindness in the world as there is not an outlet for that, as well as spread smiles to as many people as possible,” Huisentruit said. “If even just one of the community members feels inspired to perform one act of kindness to positively change someone’s life, the account will have done its job.”

Each day of the week has a special theme, in which each day’s content will be posted on the Instagram page. Sundays consist of contacting and connecting with people over the phone, Mondays center around helping someone to build a lasting relationship with them, Tuesdays are tailored to giving thanks, Wednesdays serve as reminders to keep the Earth clean, Thursdays involve featured stories of people or companies centering their actions around kindness and Fridays host self-esteem boosters and encouragement. On Saturdays, Huisentruit and Knapton complete a challenge submitted by the online community.

“We are ultimately trying to foster a community that pushes other members to be a better person and lend a helping hand,” Knapton said. “With everyone jam packed busy, even the simplest gesture of picking up a piece of trash and taking time out of your day to help on a friend with an assignment pays dividends.”

People can direct message the Instagram account or email nicethingperday@gmail.com with pictures and/or videos and a background story related to one of the daily themes for Sunday through-day through Wednesday for a chance to be featured on the Instagram page.

Even if you don’t have an Instragram account, you can still follow along through the website.

“I want all people with Internet access to be able to feel like a part of the community,” Huisentruit said.

Huisentruit also noted that kindness “can never go out of style.”

“Being a community for someone to escape to and genuinely feel a part of would be the best feeling as a creator because I will have made a positive impact on others’ lives,” Huisentruit said.

This “spur-of-the-moment idea,” according to Knapton, will make people realize how beneficial it is to act kind.

“It’s important to promote kindness because nice gestures and genuine-ness can get thrown on the back burner as you sift through a course load, work, sport, any extra-curricular activity and social life,” Knapton said. “Seeing how other people make an impact can really change the dynamic or perspective of your own thoughts and hopefully will push you to be the best person you can be.”