Cultivating Empathy Critical for Changemakers

Inside USD -- Chances are good that if you’d opened the door to Salomon Hall on Tuesday afternoon, the initial reaction could have been bewilderment. The visual was a group of students walking around rather aimlessly, a bit zombie-like, with index cards strewn across the floor. When the sound of a gong occurred, individuals dropped to the ground and immediately embodied the word scribbled on the card in front of them — glad, sad, mad, ashamed, surprised, afraid, hurt and loving — in a “huge” fashion, as Glaser instructed. When the gong sounded again, students got up, moved to another card with a different word, and the process was repeated.

While from the outside it seemed a bit unorthodox, Terry Glaser, an adjunct assistant professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at the University of San Diego, used some actor-training techniques to condition students to cultivate the attribute of empathy.

“Empathy is the ability to identify with another’s feelings,” Glaser told those who attended this Changemaker Fest event. “Our focus on empathy helps to unite us all, not divide us.” (Full Story)

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