Bundled in warm jackets, Thea Rinard and Jen Marski stood in the
early morning cold Wednesday handing out free hot chocolate with
marshmallows to students on the Lory Student Center Plaza.
Marski and Rinard lead the CSU SMILE Committee, a program
sponsored by Associated Students of CSU to boost morale and
encourage participation in CSU events.
“We’ve been having a problem lately with low participation in
student events,” said Marski, a junior political science and social
science education major. “We’re hoping that by boosting morale by
giving students little treats, they will spend more time on campus
and become more involved in CSU events.”
SMILE, or Student Morale Increase Led by Enthusiasm, is a new
program at CSU this year. SMILE distributed nearly five gallons of
hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, marshmallows or cinnamon
candies on Wednesday.
The treats given out by SMILE are paid for by student fees
allotted to ASCSU and donations.
The free drink surprised Jason Lutz, a junior watershed science
“I think it’s something we need more of around here,” he said.
“With all the controversies that have been going on lately, people
are having a hard time finding a reason to smile.”
Sarah Cooper, a freshmen open-option major, also enjoyed the
“It’s a good way to ease the tension the day after Election
Day,” Cooper said.
Along with the free treats, SMILE also handed out green ribbons
with a note attached that encouraged people to wear the ribbons
around their wrist if they were pleased by the random act of
kindness. The small measure allows SMILE to see to the impact it is
making by the number of students wearing green ribbons.
Marski said she hopes people will see the ribbons and be
encouraged to stop by the Plaza and check out the SMILE
Last week, SMILE handed out 100 fortune cookies, which contained
specialized fortunes on green slips of paper. The fortunes were
relevant to CSU with messages such as, “Have a fantastic day, and
you’re a fantastic Ram!”
SMILE will be giving away 200 bagels with cream cheese on
Tuesday to students on the Plaza who have 8 a.m. classes.
“We know how hard it can be for students who have to get up that
early to have time for breakfast,” Marski said.
Many students were initially confused by the free treats,
expecting that in return they will be asked to vote a certain way
or be involved in a specific group, Marski said.
“People are sort of amazed and skeptical of us handing out free
things without asking for anything in return,” she said.
Students who receive the free treats said they are encouraged to
tell their friends about the program to get more interested.
“We’re hoping to create a phenomenon through this,” Marski said.
“We really want to remind people that CSU is a good place to
SMILE’s future events may involve sugar cookies and an event to
promote alcohol awareness through wristbands, which may happen in
conjunction with University of Colorado-Boulder.
Any student interested in becoming involved in the program or
who wish to offer suggestions can stop by the ASCSU office in the
student center. Meetings are at 3 p.m. Wednesdays in the ASCSU
“We want to create interest in what’s going on,” Marski said.
“There’s a lot that CSU offers that students can take advantage