Gratitude@Wharton is a new student-created platform aimed at encouraging students to practice the act of gratitude through direct messages to members of the Penn community.
The platform, created by Wharton senior Louisa Cacchione, features an online form where students fill out messages of gratitude. The form delivers each message via email to the recipient and encourages the recipient to send their own message of gratitude.
As of Jan. 21, over 500 messages have been submitted through the Gratitude@Wharton form to students, professors, faculty, and members of the Penn community, according to Cacchione.
“I think that for me, the importance of the whole initiative lies within my mission and my goal to help people at Penn engage with self-care practices and important exercises that can make them stop, reflect, and check in with their life," she said.
Cacchione pitched Gratitude@Wharton during the Wharton Dolphin Tank last year in March. As one of two winning recipients, she worked with Wharton Wellness and the Undergraduate Division to implement the initiative this fall.
Gratitude@Wharton offers low barriers to entry for engagement by giving the sender of the message the option to be anonymous or publicly visible to the Wharton community, Cacchione said.
Director of Student Life at Wharton Lee Kramer told PennToday that LCD screens in Huntsman Hall will display only messages that the sender gives permission to be publicly visible. Messages may also be included in student life newsletters.
"When I received [a Gratitude@Wharton message], it definitely made my day for sure," Kramer told The Daily Pennsylvanian. "I don’t do my job for thanks, but it’s always so heartwarming to see a message of gratitude from students and also from colleagues as well."
He added that a new incentive challenge will occur this week, where the first 100 students to send three messages between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27 will receive a box of gourmet chocolates and a virtual chocolate tasting. The Wharton Undergraduate Division office plans to sponsor this challenge.
Wharton senior Nia Robinson said she was inspired by seeing how much gratitude inspired Cacchione during her pitch at the Wharton Dolphin Tank. She decided to incorporate Gratitude@Wharton into an icebreaker exercise for Wharton Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board initiative meetings.
Cacchione and Robinson hope that other student groups at Penn also implement Gratitude@Wharton as a team meeting activity.
“Gratitude is something you have to choose to do and when you choose to make that decision, it can make you a lot happier," Robinson said.
Wharton senior Javion Joyner said Gratitude@Wharton is an "incredible" vehicle for thanking people at Wharton who contribute to students' personal growth — whether that be cleaning staff in the Wharton Academic Research Building who say hello to students, academic advisors who encourage students to take harder classes than they think they can or classmates who make students laugh.
“I think by expressing our gratitude for each other at an individual level, we are also reminded of the impact that others have on forming us," Joyner said.
Cacchione hopes Gratitude@Wharton will be an ongoing initiative under Wharton Wellness that expands to become a Penn-wide initiative and is adopted by other schools. She expressed interest in having more places across campus to display messages of gratitude in the future.
“I’m hoping that this program provides a sense of community and belonging. When we receive and give gratitude, we’re making this community a little bit smaller and a little more inclusive of everyone,” Kramer said.