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The Penn Thanks Facebook page, created by the Wharton Undergraduate Giving Society’s Membership Committee, aims to promote a culture of positivity among Penn’s campus. 

Credit: Ananya Chandra

T hanksgiving may be just around the corner, but for the Wharton Undergraduate Giving Society, goodwill happens all year-round.

Penn Thanks is a Facebook page where students can post anonymous compliments about their friends. The page was started by the Wharton Undergraduate Giving Society’s Membership Committee last fall to help spread positivity around campus. The page has since accumulated around 200 submissions.

“We wanted to recognize the givers in the Penn community,” Wharton sophomore and Vice President of Membership Jake Fischer said. “We wanted to create a platform where they would receive this recognition for their acts of kindness.”

Compliments are submitted through a Google Form and then posted on Facebook. The members who manage the page then tag the recipient in the message so they are sure to see it.

“It made my month!” College junior Jared Fenton said about receiving his Penn Thanks post. “I mean, it was incredible. It was so nice what the person wrote. I was smiling, and I took a picture of it just to keep on my phone so I could look at it.”

College junior Anna Vitti also loved the compliment she received.

“I had been having a really rough week, so it was super unexpected,” Vitti said. “It was just the nicest thing to get, and I was so happy and felt so cared for. I’m really thankful to whoever said that, because I think it takes a lot of confidence and bravery to go out there and say something nice about another person.”

Alternatively, Penn Thanks can also be a tool utilized for delivering inside jokes.

Wharton junior Bonnie Mai recalls sending an email one day to her dance group, Hype Dance Crew, in which she asked members to come be friendly and greet dancers at a workshop, as it was “something I can’t do because I don’t have a soul,” she said.

The next day, a post on Penn Thanks complimented her on her “beautiful heart.”

“I just kind of rolled my eyes,” Mai said. “I’m pretty sure [it was] one of my close friends trying to play a joke on me, so I didn’t take the Penn Thanks thing seriously at all.”

Mai said that while she thought Penn Thanks had good intentions, she felt compliments would be much more effective if someone came up to her and said them to her in person, instead of from “behind a computer screen.”

“People should definitely be more outward of their appreciation, but at the same, it’s hard to appreciate [people] without it being socially awkward,” Fischer said of Penn Thanks’ anonymity. “Ultimately we’re making it easier for people to get their messages across.”

Fenton said he believes everyone should use Penn Thanks to spread positivity.

“I would be thrilled if everybody wrote one nice thing about someone on the page every day,” Fenton said. “I think it would just spread the culture of happiness and love, and that’s the goal, at least for me.”

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