Opening your mailbox and expecting to get nothing but another Campus Entertainment Commission event card, you are surprised to find a small hand-made card inside with the logo “Kaia Kards” written on the back. This is an experience that many students have had over the past four years; and the smile from reading the very personalized message is all thanks to one girl.
Kaia Lunde, a senior at Concordia, has been creating cards for people since 1996 when she had to make all her Valentines Day cards by hand for her classmates. Since freshman year of college though, Kaia has set two personal goals: to send between seven to ten cards a week to different people, and to meet one new person a day.
Paulette Dixon and Karen Jensen, who work in the campus mail center, have known Kaia since her freshman year when she started sending these cards.
“At first I thought ‘she’s got a lot of time on her hands,’” Jensen said.
“But then when you get to know her more and more, you realize how busy she is,” Dixon said.
Lunde is a communication studies and French double major with a coaching minor. She is involved on multiple committees on campus as well as cross country and track and field.
Both Dixon and Jensen have received cards from Lunde when she was in France last semester and said they think the reason she makes these cards is that “she loves to make people smile.”
They have talked to a few students who have received cards and Dixon says a couple have even reciprocated.
“She definitely gives more [cards] than she receives,” Dixon said.
One student who recently received his very own Kaia Kard is sophomore Andrew Carlson. He knew Kaia through other friends and says she is “one of those people you just know because everyone else knows her.” This year, Carlson and Lunde are on the Residence Life staff together and he got his card from her after taking her desk shift once. “I got chills reading it. It mentioned (taking the shift), but it was more than that,” Carlson said. He described how his Kaia Kard was written in one color and then certain words were a different color to emphasize that word.
Lunde creates each card by hand and tries her best to make each one uniquely drawn for the recipient. Freshman year, she even took pictures of each card to remember what she had already made.
Fitting in with her second goal of meeting a new person every day, Lunde likes to send cards to her new friends.
“I love meeting new people and I like being able to greet people by their first name,” Lunde said. “That’s something that can make our community stronger, if we know each other’s names.”
Calson says he started to think more about his smaller relationships after getting her card.
“Getting the card made me realize how important those relationships are.”
Kaia Miller is a senior majoring in communication studies and multimedia journalism. She came to Concordia planning to major in vocal performance, but after a semester discovered her interests ran in a different direction. With a suggestion from her mom to try communication, she realized her passion for journalism and research. She has held internships at MPR and Prairie Public Radio and hopes to work for a newspaper or radio new station.
Kaia is a member of the Concordia Choir, The Concordian and KORD Radio.