Students say kindness an alternative to ‘neknomination’ drinking game

Saskatchewan Prevention Institute staff are travelling around the province raising awareness about youth addictions. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/GettyImages

HALIFAX – A counter-movement to a potentially dangerous online drinking game appears to be growing in Halifax.

In “neknomination”, a person is filmed chugging a beer or whole bottle of hard liquor, then nominating people by name to do the same within 24 hours. The videos are posted and shared online.

When 19-year-old Alyssa Roy heard about the game, she was baffled.

“My first thoughts were why? Why is this happening? It wasn’t accomplishing anything. It wasn’t impressive,” she said.

Roy, a Mount Saint Vincent University student who hasn’t been neknominated, took it upon herself to do something different and spread a more positive message.

She is committing random acts of kindness, filming them and sharing the videos online. These acts have been coined “raknomination”.

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In Roy’s raknomination, she approaches a custodian in her dorm, presents her with flowers and thanks her for her work.

“I thought maybe she doesn’t get as appreciated as much as she should be because we take custodians for granted sometimes,” she said.

The video, which also ends in nominations for people to commit their own random acts of kindness, has since spread through the MSVU campus.

WATCH: The original video that inspired people to think twice about their neknominations

“I thought it would be cool to celebrate kindness instead of celebrating beer,” Roy said. “I think everyone has kindness in them and that should be celerated.”

Her friends have also gotten in on the raknominations.

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Justin Corcoran, 22, is a fourth-year business student at MSVU, and a leader on campus.

When he was neknominated, he decided not to participate.

“I felt like it would be more beneficial to my position if I didn’t do neknomination…since I’m on the student union at this university,” he said.

Instead, he filmed his own raknomination. In the video, Corcoran tapes a five-dollar bill to a vending machine with a note saying the buyer’s treat is on him.

“I think it sends a hopeful message that we’re doing something good for the world,” he said. “I think it shows there are people who will go against the grain.”

Corcoran said he believes neknomination is a short-term trend, but he hopes raknomination won’t be.

“I think since it doubles every time we do a nice nomination, it’s going to spread even further than just a one night thing,” he said.

Emma Menchefski, 19, is a second-year public relations student at MSVU who also recently uploaded her raknomination video online. In it, she posted little notes for residents in the dorm she advises.

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“I think raknomination can change the world if one person does it and it spreads to everybody,” she said. “I think it spreads happiness and I think our school is a small, close-knit community.”

She hopes people questioning whether they should do a neknomination consider the alternative.

“You’re spreading a positive message. You’re making someone’s day. It definitely has a better impact on you and on your surroundings if you’re doing that instead of chugging beer.”

Even a Halifax physician is supporting the random acts of kindness.

Dr. Connie LeBlanc, an emergency physician at the QEII hospital, said it may only be a matter of time before neknominations result in deaths locally.

To date, there is no recorded hospitalization within the Capital Health network as a result of the game.

LeBlanc wants people to embrace raknominations.

“It’s easy to have a beer. Everyone wants to have a beer. Why is that heroic?” she asked. “Why don’t you go shovel a walk for an elderly patient, or bring them a sandwich or help somebody that needs your help?”

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