By Amanda Yarger
An unchartered group on campus, TheWhatever, began work on Monday to promote caring and kindness as agents of love, as part of their mission to display acts of random kindness throughout the week.
#ArkWeek2015, the official name o f the event, breaks students into five teams with names of government agencies such as the CIA, FBI, and NASA, to earn points by spreading good deeds around campus and the community. At the end of each day, the points for that day’s “mission” are totaled and awarded to the winning groups.
Austin junior Nathan Elequin, the group’s founder, said their aim is to provide students with an outlet for meeting new people and explore Baylor and the surrounding Waco area.
The group officially began in late January of this semester and has already grown to nearly 100 members who “are willing to try new, childish, crazy, and hilarious things for the sake of a good time,” according to their flyer.
Elequin said the primary goal of the week began with the theory of life investment.
“I believe that when you give gifts during times other than just Christmas and birthdays, it means a lot more,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be spending money, but doing things for other people, writing them letters and just letting them know they’re special.”
Acts of the week include talking to professors, taking photos with new friends and random dancing.
“A lot of these acts of random kindness are not ‘clean your roommate’s room and then surprise!” he said. “A lot of them are just do something really fun and invite someone else to be a part of it. It doesn’t have to be the type of thing you feel like you’re going to get a Mother Teresa award for.”
The idea for ARK week came from an event the group previously hosted during spring break, The Hunt. Participants were broken into teams inspired by Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
Their sole objective was to photograph themselves doing various assigned activities and earn as many possible points for their team.
“Everyone was home for spring break and there were a lot of fun ones like ‘Turn Yourself into a Pokemon,’” Elequin said. “It was really cool seeing people come together from all quadrants of the world to really get into this game.”
Although the club goes on random and exciting adventures, a crucial aspect is the excursions are Baylor appropriate and don’t harm property, Elequin said.
San Angelo sophomore Isabeau Posey said club adventures like Flash Art Museums provide opportunities to be creative.
“The group creates a place to feel safe and have fun, to learn to be a kid again,” she said. “It gives a way for people to be vulnerable in a positive way and that’s how you really foster true kinship and make a family with people. Anyone can join TheWhatever, it’s not clique-ish.”
Waco freshman Annie Mathis, a member and graphic designer for the group, said another advantage of the group is its “come-and-go” nature.
“I would say just try it out and come to a meeting,” Mathis said. “Even if they don’t know what it is, it’s just an experience you have to have. I can’t really define it- if you don’t like it you don’t have to come again, but one of the most powerful things are the memories.”