Investigating how polite Laurier really is

Whoever said that chivalry was dead did not go to Wilfrid Laurier University.

Something as simple as holding the door for someone who is carrying a number of books is one of the most beautiful forms of politeness, yet this is something that is not often practiced in everyday life. Because of this, many people say that general courtesy for one another is dead.

However, there are those who are always polite and go out of their way to hold a door open for someone or help pick up their dropped books. These helpers are seldom ever met with a simple thank you from the person they just helped. It is sometimes a losing battle when being polite.

Curious to see on which end of the spectrum Laurier falls under, The Cord’s video team and I decided to conduct a social experiment to see just how polite Laurier really is. The results from this experiment have continued my faith in humanity.

The Science Atrium
There were a few trial and errors with this first stop.

Originally, our subject Mahdri Vorster was going to walk by the steps alongside the wall and then drop her books to see if anyone would help her pick them up. She dropped her books and notebooks and though people glanced over, she was too far from the crowd for anyone to help her pick her things up.

Vorster went into this social experiment already believing that Laurier was an inherently polite school, as she had seen many acts of kindness during her time at Laurier.  Because of this, she assumed that she would have more of a positive reaction from her peers.

“It didn’t surprise me that people would react to such an occurrence,” Vorster said, “But it did surprise me that not that many people looked up from the book dropping incident.”

Deciding that we weren’t going to give up, we decided  to try one more time in the atrium.

I decided to be the subject just in case someone would get suspicious of Mahdri dropping her books again. Instead of walking along the walls, I walked through the desks with my notebook and papers in my hand. I purposely crashed into the edge of a desk, leading me to drop my notebook while also sending my papers everywhere.

Since I was much closer to the students studying, I got much more of a reaction. One girl didn’t hesitate for a moment and she helped me grab my papers, handed them to me and offered a polite smile.

“I was surprised to see people actually move out of their chairs to help someone else when it is easy to make it look like you’re too busy to lend a hand,” Vorster commented when she observed the second attempt.

It was refreshing to see that there are polite people here at Laurier.

To further this experiment, the video team and I decided to take this experiment outside and see if people would offer to help chase after papers blowing in the wind.

As I was walking up towards the Fred Nichols building, I was rummaging through my notes. Given the fact that it was already naturally windy outside, I did not have to pretend to lose my notes.

I dropped my notebook on the first try and since by some miracle only one of my papers blew away, one person stopped to grab it for me. As I continued onwards, I purposely stumbled so that I would drop my work to the ground.

Just as I was bending down to grab my work, a girl had walked up to me and asked if I needed any help to which I said yes. This girl got down on her knees and she helped gather my notes and listened to me as I explained that I was flustered because of midterm season. It was a relatable feeling.

After this girl helped me grab my work and helped me get up, she told me that she hoped that I had a better day and to keep my head up. This girl exemplified what it means to be a polite Laurier student; she took that extra step to make sure that I was helped as well as leaving me with a kind remark and well wishes. She definitely put me in the best mood for the rest of the day!

A member of our video crew asked their friend Joey Sea to do the same experiment again, as more students had begun to frequent the quad and the terrace. When Sea dropped the notebook, the wind picked up all of the loose notes and papers, resulting in them scattering everywhere. This led to a number of strangers from different groups stopping to chase the papers and give them back to Sea.

The lesson here is that Laurier is full of students who are polite and willing to help out their peers and even strangers.

If there is an opportunity where you can make someone happy by just holding the door open for them or helping them when they drop their work, always take that chance. You could make someone’s day so much better. Stay golden, my friends!

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