Q&A: Dominic Michalec and Ron Holgado of A Day Of Random

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From the August 28, 2014 edition

The concept for “A Day of Random” is so simple, organizers Dominic Michalec and Ron Holgado have found it difficult to articulate. Michalec and Holgado hope to make Columbus the happiest city in the United States through a grassroots effort to spread cheer through random acts of kindness throughout the Columbus area, and encourage others to do the same. At 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, Goodale Park will serve as home base for the pair and other “A Day Of Random” participants before they break off into groups and work to spread happiness, in whatever way they feel is best. Both Michalec and Holgado hope the sentiment spreads, and the Arch City becomes a hotbed of civic engagement.

A Day of Random is about promoting a new culture of kindness in Columbus. I went to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and I came back completely changed. I thought, “Why does that sense of community and kindness have to end?” I wanted to do something positive for Columbus. I’ve always been a proponent of “paying it forward,” so I sought out [Dominic Michalec] because I knew he felt the same way. We wanted to create something that would promote spreading kindness, but in a slightly more organized fashion, so we came up with “A Day of Random.” Basically, we will meet at Goodale Park, get to know one another, and then split off into groups and make somebody’s day better. I recently read Columbus was ranked the third happiest city in the U.S. — we want to take things to a new level and make Columbus first. RH

The hardest part of this project is defining it. I was really inspired by a tech conference I attended [where] they said you should always have a side project. I know spreading positivity makes me happy, and I wanted to bring that to others. Happiness is what we all want, so I figured why not give it to each other. But happiness can mean a lot of things. It can mean paying for somebody’s coffee, or giving a high five, or a hug, or whatever. That’s what makes the project hard to define. We don’t have set instructions for the groups or the people who participate. We want this to be as organic as possible. We don’t have a sponsor, or a business plan — we just want to make Columbus a little more pleasant for everybody. There isn’t just one action, it’s about the larger sentiment. People in Columbus and everywhere are paying it forward, our thought is, “Why not do it together?” DM

We wanted to hold “A Day of Random” this weekend because we want visitors to experience this side of Columbus. Ohio State students are back in town, and the Fashion Meets Music Festival is this weekend, so a lot of people who are new to Columbus will be in the area. We want people who are moving here or visiting to have a great first impression. This is where we are from and where we grew up, we want people to see how awesome Columbus residents can be. The goal is to have as many people overwhelmed by positive energy as possible. RH

We don’t want “A Day of Random” to be a one-time thing. We are hoping this catches on and we can hold “A Day Of Random” quarterly. We figure if people have a positive experience this time, they will want to participate the next time, or on their own. We hope it will grow to a point where there doesn’t have to be a day designated to be kind to others, it will just become the norm. DM

 

Photo by Meghan Ralston