Feb 7, 2014

Stuart Johnson – Dalhousie

Pursuit of Greatness
Stuart Johnson – Dalhousie

A fraternity brother from Halifax walks into a bank, takes out $100, and heads down Spring Garden Road.

But instead of hitting a downtown bar like students do from time to time, he hands two $20 bills to an unsuspecting woman asking for change, and then $60 to a man playing guitar on the corner.

Stuart Johnson of Phi Delta Theta says he wanted his act of kindness caught on video to put a different spin on the “neknomination” drinking game.

Reportedly started in Australia, the game has spread around the world on sites like Facebook and involves people posting videos where they chug a beer or other types of liquor in unusual settings and nominate two others to do the same.

“I just tried to do something a bit different with it because everyone was doing the same thing,” said Johnson, a first-year Dalhousie University commerce student from Toronto.

“I felt that if you’re not doing anything good, why is it on video?”

Johnson said after being nominated on Monday, he already wanted to take the video in a different direction when a friend suggested helping out people asking for change on Spring Garden Road in a “nice nomination.”

Phi Delta Theta is alcohol-free, and Johnson said the brothers are trying to show a different side of fraternity life in Halifax.

“You’re always wondering what the public reaction is going to be,” Johnson said.“Many people have this predisposition against fraternities because they say it’s just a bunch of drinking buddies.”

The woman gave Johnson a hug after thanking him multiple times, and the man who was busking said he could now buy a new guitar case.

It felt “really cool” to help someone else, Johnson said.

Many people around the world are turning to acts of kindness nominations like Johnson’s instead of downing alcohol, like a man in South Africa who gave lunch to a man on the street.

It would be great to see these overtake the drinking videos, Johnson said, but added it wasn’t his place to tell others what to do.

“I did something and hopefully it motivates some other people to do something along those lines, that was my goal,” Johnson said.

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