For senior Brandon Eastom, recognizing others is becoming a seldom act people do for each other. It was this belief that led him to create the Snap Jar.
“The Snap Jar [is] kind of just a method of recognizing people and appreciating people,” Eastom said. “I feel like a lot of times, people do a lot of great things, but they don't get recognized for the great things they do. You say, ‘Thanks,’ but sometimes, it's really good to just show recognition, and show you care about someone and showing that you noticed.”
Eastom said he first came up with the idea during his time as chair for the Recognition Committee in Ball State’s chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) — an organization that recognizes students who are leaders in their residence halls and “have shown outstanding service, recognition, commitment,” according to its Benny Link page. Within the organization, members would write down messages and put them in a jar for people to take and read.
“I wanted to take that idea and make it a campus-wide effect — to go to anyone,” Eastom said. “It doesn't have to be a resident on campus. It could be off-campus, or it can be a professor. I’ve gotten those. It could be anyone because I think everyone should feel acknowledged and appreciated.”
Instead of using a physical jar, Eastom sends out a campus-wide email once a month where students and staff can fill out a Google Form recognizing others.
“What we do is we go through every single entry we get, and we send the person who was nominated an email saying, ‘Hey, you received a snap, and your snap says whatever,’” Eastom said. “Then, at the end of the month, we go through all of the entries, and we just randomly pick five. The five we pick get a certificate and a thing to put on their door that says, ‘Hey, you're doing great.’”
As a member of NRHH, senior Jackie Weisenfelder said she thinks Eastom’s Snap Jar is a great alternative to give students a way to recognize others.
“Something through NRHH is called an OTM, which is an ‘Of the Month’ award, and it's usually like a longer thing,” Weisenfelder said. “It's roughly 600 words, and it’s nominating somebody in a category for various reasons throughout a given month. The Snap Jar is a smaller version of that. Someone who is intimidated of writing an ‘Of the Month’ award or doesn't know how to do it — this is kind of just a smaller way to still pat someone on the back.”
Because Eastom just started the Snap Jar in October, he said he was surprised at the number of entries he received.
“Right now, we've already gotten 55 [entries], which is pretty good, I will say,” Eastom said. “We are hoping for more, and we want a lot of people to be recognized. But the goal is, once they realize, ‘Oh, emails go out, certificates go out,’ more will want to submit.”
Weisenfelder said she sent in one of the 55 entries and nominated DeHority Complex’s Hall Director, Robbie Williford. Weisenfelder said she believes he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
“He puts in a lot of work [and] spends a lot of time in his office,” Weisenfelder said. “A lot of students don't necessarily get to interact with him or attribute that work to him. They’re just like, ‘Oh, well, the building is functioning as it should be,’ but they don't realize that there are people behind the scenes that put in time, energy and effort to get the building where it is.”
When Williford received the email about his nomination, he said, he was taken aback.
“It gave me a sense of purpose,” Williford said. “I don’t require recognition to keep going, but it certainly helps remind me why I’m here doing what I’m doing … I think [the Snap Jar] will bring a greater sense of appreciation to campus. It’ll hopefully encourage folks to give gratitude to others.”
Although Eastom came up with the initiative on his own, he said, he attributes much of its success to the support of NRHH representative Bradford Peace.
“I do one-on-one meetings with [Peace] every week,” Eastom said. “We kind of just talk about things, and he helped me perfectly put together this initiative. I wouldn’t be able to send all these emails or have a perfect idea of what I want to do and actually get things done without him. A lot of [the Snap Jar] is like me, but a lot of the help and the pieces of making things actually happen is Bradford Peace.”
Peace said he became familiar with the idea of a Snap Jar during regional conferences for NRHH, but with Eastom’s Snap Jar, it is available to everyone on campus digitally all the time instead of only limiting it to people in attendance at a conference.
“[Eastom] has worked to make it a quick and easily accessible way for people to participate in recognition without having to create an account or spend a lot of time writing a 600-word submission,” Peace said.
Eastom plans on writing the Snap Jar into NRHH’s constitution to ensure it continues after he graduates. As a leader of the Recognition Committee, Eastom plans on passing the Snap Jar to the next person in charge of the committee.
“If Bradford stays next year, and he [starts the Snap Jar] again, I'm hoping that he will help [NRHH] continue it,” Eastom said. “The goal is just to pass down the idea. [When] I'm 80 years old, I would love to see the idea still exist.”
Eastom said he hopes not only NRHH continues to implement the Snap Jar, but that people continue to nominate and recognize those around them.
“You never know how someone is really feeling,” Eastom said. “You never know the place someone really is in, and you don't know how far just a simple ‘I appreciate you’ goes. I think it's really important to just always acknowledge those around you. Do a snap. Put it in the snappy jar.”
Contact Madeleine Mills-Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MMillscraig.