MU Compliments spreads positivity on campus

A smile can brighten someone else’s day.

So can a compliment.

Since its establishment in November of 2012, the popular Facebook page MU Compliments has provided a daily pick-me-up to its now more than 4,000 friends.

The page is notorious for spreading good cheer among MU students, faculty and staff. Posts publicly praise doers of good deeds and individuals of strong moral character, from an appreciative mention of Sandy of Plaza 900, to an expression of gratitude to a group of Columbia citizens who stopped a thief on the street, to positive statements about entire groups of the MU community.

The page allows for compliments to be given anonymously – anyone can send their message to the page and give a compliment to someone, whether they know them personally or not.

The administrator of the page, who requested to keep a hidden identity, thinks the anonymous nature of the page is what makes it special.

“The coolest part of MU Compliments is that it’s a forum for all students,” the administrator said. “There is no reason to know what my major is or what my name is. I’m a student and that’s it. There are so many things on campus that are only for people in the journalism school or people involved in the Department of Student Life. Compliments is unique and cool because it’s for everyone.”

The page began when the administrator learned about a similar one at American University in Washington, D.C., and thought it was something that could be done with little effort. The page gained about 2,000 friends within two days after it was created.

During February’s snowstorm, when students, staff and Columbia residents offered help to those stranded in the snow, the page received so many compliments the administrator couldn’t keep up. Since the page’s inception at least five to ten posts have been made each day.

“It hasn’t really slowed down,” the administrator said. “I don’t know much about other schools’ pages, but (on) American University’s, compliments are usually just a sentence long. I think MU Compliments, for the most part, are incredibly genuine, beautiful compliments. It’s something unique to Mizzou that makes it even more special.”

The administrator receives her share of compliments as well, but gets just as much fulfillment by serving as the messenger of other students’ kind words.

“I don’t know most of the people who post compliments, so I don’t feel like I’m getting a sneak peek into the lives of my peers,” the administrator said. “It’s just really fun to be a part of making people happy. I feel like I’m delivering flowers – I’m not the one giving or receiving them, but it still gives me joy to see others happy. It’s a great part of my day.”

Other Facebook pages for anonymous sharing have come around since MU Compliments.

“MU Secret Admirers is kind of funny, but borderline sexual harassment, and Mizzou Confessions is a bit weird,” the administrator said. “They’re both fine, but Compliments gives a different feeling. It’s 'You have a smoking bod' versus 'You changed the way I life my life.'"

The administrator hasn’t yet decided what will happen to the page when she leaves MU.

“I have another year before I graduate,” the administrator said. “If it’s still around I’ll have to pass it down or it’ll just end – I’m not sure yet. Right now I’m just enjoying how very little effort on my part gets such a very large reward. I literally don’t do anything but copy and paste, and I get a great joy from reading everyone’s nice words about each other. It’s just a simple, happy thing.”

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