When a care package arrived at the University Press office last week from the Daily Eastern News staff, the newspaper of Eastern Illinois University, it reminded those of us at the UP of an uplifting fact — that, even weeks after Hurricane Harvey, people outside of Southeast Texas still care about how we as a community are doing after the flood.

It is not just Southeast Texas that has suffered, as news coverage of Maria’s aftermath in Puerto Rico, or of the wildfires currently burning hundreds of thousands of acres in California, clearly show. While we are all aware of the relief organizations that come in to help after these disasters, we are not always aware of the individuals who volunteer time and material to these efforts — or those who simply do little things to bring a bit of normalcy back to our lives.

Those who perform these acts of kindness are under no obligation to do so. They don’t live in the areas that are impacted, they are not directly affected by the disasters, their school year started on time.

They do not expect to receive anything in return. The fact that they go out of their way to help out shows that they are thinking about their fellow human beings, not just themselves.

We should strive to be more like these people. All too often, we hear about how people behave selfishly, acting only for their own benefit. At the same time, we do not hear enough about those who take the time and effort to act for the benefit of others. Empathy for others is a virtue — one that, if exercised more often, might help make the world a better place.

There are many small acts of kindness within the Lamar community in the wake of Harvey that have gone unnoticed — people loaning out textbooks, people giving others school supplies — all to help them make it through the semester.

If you are one of these people, we commend you. Your actions show that you are considerate and worthy of respect.

We thank you all.

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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