Dear Wellesley Community,
I hope you have had a restful break. As we enter the final leg of the semester, I hope you remember to sleep enough, eat regularly and yes, take time off to de-stress! I wish that we will also be kinder to one another in a time when tensions are running high for many of us in the Wellesley community. Being able to empathize with one another – to see ourselves in someone else’s shoes – is what will help us build a stronger community at Wellesley.
I am not perfect at practicing empathy. I jump to conclusions and judge very quickly, but I am learning that doing so is fatal for growing the relationships I have with people and damaging to my work with College Government. Practicing empathy also means being willing to admit that I do not know everything and that my perspectives may be wrong. It is so difficult, but I remind myself that if I find it difficult to empathize with someone else, another person must also be finding it difficult to empathize with me! I want to challenge us to really try practicing more empathy in the spaces that we inhabit, especially at Wellesley.
Practicing empathy through active listening and seeing things from another person’s perspective is crucial to fulfilling the entire mission of CG, which is to build an active, engaged and inclusive student community at Wellesley. This is why my fervent desire is for College Government to make our processes and policies much more empathetic moving forward – that what College Government does is informed by understanding where you are coming from. This is the motivation behind quite a few of the CG policy changes regarding financing and recognition for organizations that we are bringing forward in Senate this week.
College Government prioritizing and practicing empathy does not equal our policies being a 100 percent in line with what your preferences are – as CG operates within the incredibly diverse student community, every decision we make is trying to decide what might be the best for the community as a whole. But it does mean that your perspective will be sought and accounted for in our decision making.
That’s also the principle behind how College Government should act as an advocate for the student body – we need to make sure the student perspective is accounted for in the College’s decision-making processes. That is part of the motivation behind setting up a student Ad-Hoc Committee to comment on the College’s draft demonstration policy; moving forward, we are also looking into better ways for us to represent the student voice within Academic Council and beyond.
It’s not going to be perfect from the get-go, but we are taking small steps to transform College Government to be better at serving you. Let us know how College Government can be more empathetic, listen better and be a better advocate: as always, you can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week ahead.