This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page.
Month of Kindess Events Launched
By Sarah Breckenridge
A series of events and activities intended to promote compassionate and considerate behavior began last week, as the second annual Month of Kindness got underway.
"The goal is to unite the campus by paying close attention to relationships and participating in acts of kindness to further encourage an environment filled with tolerance, pluralism, and openness," said Tracy Dembicer, an undergraduate student who is executive co-chair of the Month of Kindness.
This year's Month of Kindness began with a lecture by Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Indian philosopher and political leader, Mahatma Gandhi; and a charity concert in which all seven of the University's a cappella groups performed at the same place, at the same time.
Upcoming events include a presentation on November 6 about fair trade, titled "Fighting Poverty One Cup at a Time"; a November 13 lecture by Ninotchka Rosca, a Philippine novelist who advocates women's rights; and a talk on November 19 by Judy Shepard, co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which works for gay and lesbian equality.
There will also be a peace vigil each Tuesday; weekend opportunities to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity; and a hunger sleepout on November 19 and a hunger "banquet" on November 20, to encourage reflection on world hunger.
As well as scheduled events, the University community is encouraged to show kindness to strangers, family members, neighbors, and other members of the community.
Dembicer said she hopes "the community will recognize the kindness this University has to offer, not only in November, but throughout the rest of the year."
The Month of Kindness was launched last year under the leadership of Debbie Rubenstein, executive director of Hillel.
Although the idea was conceived before Sept. 11, the Month of Kindness took on new relevance in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. "We may not be able to change the world all at once," said Rubenstein, "but we can change our neighborhood, our town or city, our state and the way we act with our own circle of friends. We can start small and build from there."
Organizers of the Month of Kindness hope the model will be replicated elsewhere. "We are setting the example for kindness initiatives across college campuses nationwide," said Dembicer.
A full calendar of events for the Month of Kindness is posted on the web: http://sp.uconn.edu/~kindness/