Skip To Main Content

ONU’s One for You

Student creates pay-it-forward program to encourage small gestures of kindness.

by Hannah Peterson
Senior public relations student

Derek Price, a freshman political science major from Howell, N.J., is implementing a pay-it-forward program known as ONU’s One for You. The program will encourage students to spend an additional couple of dollars when purchasing items at local restaurants in an effort to share kindness and good fortune with those in need.

The pay-it-forward program will allow people to pay for either a small coffee or a slice of pizza at select Ada restaurants. Instead of receiving the food item they purchased, the individual will receive a post-it note that will be hung up on the wall of the participating restaurant. The post-it notes can be removed from the board and redeemed for either a small coffee or a slice of pizza at anytime. Price was inspired to create the program because he believes kindness should be a paramount trait in life.

“In today’s world, I think kindness toward others is something that’s overlooked,” he says. “When most people think about kindness, they think of overwhelming gestures of caring. But to me, true kindness lies in the small gestures from the anonymous strangers who buy $1 pizza slices, because without the little gestures, this world would be a rather uncaring place.”

Price wants this communal program to become part of the culture at ONU and in the surrounding community. As a college student himself, he fully understands the “lack of money versus the craving for pizza” predicament. This program will allow students and community members alike to use a post-it note to pay for their cup of coffee or slice of pizza on the days they are unable to pay for whatever reason. If successful, the pay-it-forward program will be an opportunity for students and community members to give back to the University and the village of Ada in a unique way.

“I sincerely hope this program will thrive over the next four years that I am here. But, more importantly, I hope this program will become part of the culture present here at ONU. I knew from the very outset of creating this program that I wanted it to be a program that both the University and Ada could be proud of, and I sincerely think it will be a source of pride for everyone to share in the future,” he says.

To build University and community support, Price sought buy-in from individuals and organizations on campus as well as local restaurants. The current restaurants in support of the program are Northern On Main (NOM) and Viva Maria’s. Price hopes to gain the support of additional restaurants as the program grows. His program is now endorsed and sponsored by an impressive list of people and organizations on campus, and support is growing steadily on the program’s Facebook page. Price has high hopes for the “ONU One for You” program and is optimistic that students and the Ada community will uphold it.

“An unknown person once said, ‘Together we can change the world, one good deed at a time,’ and I’m hoping we can make this community a better place one post-it note at a time,” he says.