A group of committed SCSU students, faculty, staff, and administrators have come together as The University of Compassion Initiative to inspire compassionate action in the community. The Compassion Lecture Series is one of many creative ways to enhance the university’s overall mission of justice and service, while cultivating an environment that supports the well-being of students, staff, administrators, and faculty, said Dana Schneider, an associate professor of social work who has been helping to spearhead the effort with a campus wide coalition. A March 9 presentation by Dr. Randall Horton, “Forgive Me, Father,” is the kickoff lecture in the Compassion Lecture Series sponsored by Faculty Development and corresponds with the 2nd Annual Week of Wellness. Horton’s lecture will take place in the ASC Theatre from 7-9 p.m. He will lecture on the power and necessity of compassion as it relates to his newly released Hook: A Memoir, which chronicles a narrative of addiction, homelessness, and incarceration, and how kindheartedness saved his life.
Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Horton now resides in Harlem, N.Y. He is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. He is also a member of the band Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group whose unique blend of blues, jazz, funk, hip hop, go-go, R&B, soul, classical music, poetry, dramaturgy and prose, continues the legacy of poet Amiri Baraka. Horton is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and associate professor of English at the University of New Haven. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press is the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Augury Books published Hook: A Memoir in fall of 2015.
In addition, Horton has been interviewed on Fox News, NPR, CTNPR, the New Haven Register and countless online journals, magazines, and radio shows. He is also on the Board of Directors of Pen America’s Pen Prison Writing Program.
The aims of the Compassion Lecture Series are to: educate faculty and the larger university community on the role of compassion in creating more just societies and will provide forums for ongoing dialogue about compassion; demonstrate the value of compassion in the promotion of well-being, health, and the environment; expose the faculty and larger community to the scientific research examining the role of compassion in the lives of individuals and communities; provide examples for faculty, staff, and students of compassion in action in university life and the global community; and further the aims of the University of Compassion Initiative to reduce suffering and promote compassionate engagement in all facets of university life.
More on The University of Compassion Initiative:
As members of the SCSU family, we believe it is our responsibility to engage others with mutual respect and equity while fostering a safe and care caring environment for all, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, appearance, disability, and socioeconomic status. Compassion inspires a fulfilled humanity through informed empathy, ethical actions, an appreciation of diversity and the value of relationships. Through compassion we aspire to promote wellbeing and engage in harmonious relationships with all beings and manifestations of the natural world. We have the power to break down political, dogmatic, ideological, and religious boundaries, and foster unity throughout our communities.
Our actions are supported by a global movement represented by the Charter for Compassion. We are also following in the footsteps of our sister institutions, WCSU and CCSU, to become a designated University of Compassion.
- “Mindful Mondays” (a contemplative practice forum open to the entire SCSU community) meets Mondays 12:15-1:00 p.m. in Buley 449.
- The University of Compassion Initiative recently joined forces with Unity Pledge Committee.
- The Initiative sponsors the Compassion Lecture Series.