New club works to bring ‘unexpected joy’ to Northwestern


Source: Unexpected Joy Facebook page

Create Unexpected Joy set up a table in Norris during finals week encouraging students to write nice notes to each other. The club began Fall Quarter to encourage students to do random acts of kindness.

Rosalie Chan, Reporter

After its first full quarter at Northwestern, the Create Unexpected Joy club continues to spread its mission of doing random acts of kindness and encouraging others to do the same.

“‘Create Unexpected Joy’ is our mantra,” said SESP senior Chenny Ng, who co-founded the club. “Our goal is to give joy to people’s lives when they least expect it.”

The club started Fall Quarter when representatives from the Chicago-based crowdsourcing organization GiveForward approached students with the idea. The organization, which allows people to fundraise for medical expenses of friends or family members, chose NU as the first school to begin the club. Applications opened for students at the beginning of the school year.

The club currently has eight co-founders, with each academic class represented. With two mentors from GiveForward to guide them, they spent last quarter establishing themselves and met once a week to discuss long-term planning.

“Our hope is that we’ll do some bigger events such that other schools will hear about it,” said club co-founder Ben Terdich, a Weinberg junior.

Create Unexpected Joy also runs a Facebook page where they post different random acts of kindness.

During Reading Period, the club hosted an event at Norris University Center called Complim-Art, through which students could write compliments on colored pieces of paper. Members took pictures of these compliments and posted them on Facebook, and students could tag the friends mentioned in the compliments. Students also dressed in chicken suits and posed for photos in Norris.

Co-founder Tom Kerby said the events had a good turnout — evidence that NU students enjoyed helping each other out.

“I was really excited about doing something like this,” the Weinberg freshman said. “It’s kind of my philosophy that making people happy is something we should do.”

As president of the Happiness Club, SESP junior Meg McPherson also participates in Create Unexpected Joy, and she has given insight from her experience in Happiness Club.

“I like spreading happiness,” McPherson said. “I almost didn’t apply but I thought it would be a good way to try a different approach to spread happiness.”

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