Kindness Rocks Kent

Community members are spreading kindness, with every rock they paint

Coming out of the summer of 2022, Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, director of the Kent State Women’s Center, felt what she called “a heaviness” as people came out of COVID-19 isolation with feelings of wanting to reconnect with other people but “maybe weren’t quite sure how to do it anymore.”

She wanted to figure out a way to do something positive, to bring people together. So, she contacted some friends from all over campus, including Rebekkah Berryhill, grounds manager; Kristin Williams, director, career services for the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship; and Linda Hoeptner-Poling, associate professor in the School of Art, and invited students and members of the community to the Kent State University Women’s Center, inside the Williamson House on East Main Street, to paint rocks together on Wednesdays.

Kindness Rocks on a mantel


Rocking the community

“Kindness Rocks” is a national viral trend in which people paint small rocks and leave them for other people to find. It’s intended to be a community-building activity that brings joy and spreads kindness.

“We called it ‘Kindness Rocks Kent’ because we didn’t want it to be limited to just Kent State,” Pegg-Kirby said.

“The hope is that in the process of coming together and painting rocks, people have conversations,” she said. “Their hands are busy, they’re actually being social and don’t realize it, and you can’t help but sort of internalize some of the things you’re writing and some of the things you’re thinking about.”

Karma Kindness Rock


Pegg-Kirby said they have incorporated rock painting into their open house events at the Williamson House and they’ve had families and kids visit to paint rocks. Painting rocks is also a healing event as part of Sexual Assault or Relationship Abuse Awareness Month, she said.

She stresses that Kindness Rocks Kent is a community activity and is not “owned” by the Women’s Center. “It’s not owned by anybody. We house it here, but this is really the community supporting the community,” she said. There is a hashtag #kindessrockskent and an Instagram page that has photos of some of the rocks.

Kindness Rocks on the mantel at the Women's Center


How to paint a rock

Anyone who wants to paint a rock is welcome to visit the Women’s Center on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. to create their own rock design. Rocks are provided, as well as paints and markers.

Painters can take their rock with them, or leave it at the Women’s Center. There, it will be sprayed with a sealant and then placed in a Kindness Rocks rock garden on campus, where anyone who wants a rock can take one. “Maybe someone walking by these rocks feels the love and energy that was put into them, picks one up and puts it on their desk or in their room and it makes a difference,” said Pegg-Kirby.

Kindness Rocks with messages


Previously, the rock garden was located behind the Kent Student Center. Pegg-Kirby said this semester the rock garden will be located near the Women’s Center so that it will be easier to keep it supplied with new rocks.

She said that if any organizations or student groups want to paint rocks as a group activity, they can email her or the Women’s Center.

“Let’s paint some rocks and put some good vibes out there,” she said.

Another kind of painted  “Kindness Rock” was spotted this week on Front Campus, announcing the Undergraduate Student Government’s “Week of Kindness.” See USG's schedule of events for the week here.

The Rock with USG Week of Kindness message
POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2023 01:18 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2024 10:25 AM
Phil B. Soencksen