May 8, 2019 | Bringing It #15: In Praise of Our Grantees, Partners, and Faculty Leaders

Dear friends,

This week’s Bringing It focuses on the work of a practitioner community, partner organizations, and a leadership network. We are excited to lift up all of their achievements.

Grantee Spotlight: Virginia Commonwealth University

Influenced by a longitudinal Spit for Science study, VCU founded the College Behavioral and Emotional Health Institute (COBE) to promote research, teaching, and programming on behavioral and emotional health and well-being. In 2016, COBE launched the THRIVE Living-Learning Hall, a residential community where students have access to a wide range of wellness events, faculty mentoring, and opportunities for research, and all take a course on the Science of Happiness.

We’re proud to have supported the THRIVE Living-Learning Community and its Science of Happiness course. We share VCU’s vision of an undergraduate experience committed to the whole student and their well-being, and we look forward to enhanced student-faculty engagement as the program continues to evolve.  Bravo!

What Our Partners Are Doing: Interfaith Youth Core

We are delighted to have recently spent the day with our friends at the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) headquarters in Chicago. IFYC partners with colleges and universities working to make interfaith cooperation a positive force within American society. Working with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni, IFYC offers grants, develops toolkits, runs campus programming, and organizes institutes. In fact, IFYC will hold its annual Interfaith Leadership Institute from August 2-4 in Chicago. The institute is the largest gathering of students and educators committed to religious pluralism and will offer training tracks, plenary sessions, and unconference and program showcases.

Like BTtoP, IFYC is committed to overcoming racial and civic divisions. A must-watch  PBS newshour special highlights IFYC’s use of interfaith cooperation to bridge racial divides. We hope you will not only watch the video, but join us in honoring and lifting up the good work of IFYC!

Sign-Up for Our Well-Being and Equity Webinar

On June 12th from 2 PM-3PM, we will be hosting a webinar on well-being and equity in partnership with AAC&U. Led by Jo Ellyn Walker and Nicole Brocato, the webinar will explore two questions: What does it mean to place support for student flourishing at the center of the equity agenda? What does it mean to place equity, diversity, and inclusion at the heart of our understanding of student well-being? Students of color, first-generation students, low-income students, and adult working students are the focus of both these questions as the importance of student well-being as an equity imperative has largely been due to their advocacy and activism. For more information and to register for the webinar, please visit here. We hope you can join us!

Jonathan Metzl’s Anti-Racist Public Scholarship (Continued)

A couple of issues back, we were glad to give a shout-out to Jonathan Metzl’s important new book, Dying of Whiteness. Jonathan offers a trenchant argument: at a time of racial polarization and rising white identity politics, communities in rural and red-state America are suffering terrible health outcomes from policies that ironically their voters often support.

As you may have seen, Jonathan and Dying of Whiteness have been in the news recently. During a book tour here in Washington, D.C., his talk at the Politics and Prose Bookstore was disrupted by a phalanx of white nationalists spewing supremacist slogans on a bullhorn. Met with boos and jeers by the audience, they left after a few minutes, and Jonathan led a discussion reflecting on the disruption. Here is a Washington Post story covering the event. And here is a terrific op-ed, “It’s Time To Talk About Being White in America,” that Jonathan published in the Post, connecting what happened in Politics and Prose to the very argument his book makes.

We wanted to salute our friend and BTtoP Advisory Board member. His work underscores the public importance of our work as scholars and teachers--and the need to fight for our values, and against racism, in the public square.

And thanks to all of you for the work you do.

Sincerely,

Caitlin, Mercedes, and David