UM Selected to Receive Positive Engagement Grant

September 27, 2017

MISSOULA – The University of Montana was selected as one of 40 institutions to receive funding from Campus Compact to bridge divides on campuses and in communities.

Campus Compact – a Boston-based nonprofit – received nearly 300 submissions from institutions nationwide vying for funding from its Fund for Positive Engagement.

The Fund for Positive Engagement was created by Campus Compact as a response to the divisive and destructive climate in the United States that took shape during the 2016 presidential campaign and has continued since. The purpose of the fund is to catalyze experiments in bridging divisions among people and groups in communities across the country.

Proposals were judged based on the strength of the idea, practicality and the degree to which it will be possible to measure success, among other criteria. Two-thirds of the reviewers were Newman Civic Fellows – young leaders nominated by college and university presidents who are part of Campus Compact.

The $5,000 grant will allow UM’s Positive Engagement project to bring Compassion Cultivation Training to UM students with the aim to increase empathy, facilitate communication across differences, develop positive relationships and encourage collaborative problem-solving.

CCT is an eight-week program designed by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. It combines traditional contemplative practices with contemporary psychology and scientific research to help students train their minds to intentionally choose compassionate thoughts and actions in their daily lives.

UM Associate Director of Civic Engagement Colleen Kane will be certified to teach the CCT program in the spring.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to bring Compassion Cultivation Training to UM, and I am excited to see how this programming helps increase positive engagement on campus,” Kane said.

“We wanted to create an incentive for colleges and universities to come up with creative responses to the challenges they are seeing,” said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Campus Compact. “We have been hearing from our member colleges and universities that students and community members cannot hold conversations with people with differing political views. Immigrant and Muslim students are afraid to express their views. Many community members see universities as completely separate universes with different values. We invited our members to propose steps to break through those divides, and we are excited by the proposals that came back.”

For more information and full list of recipients, visit https://compact.org/fund-positive-engagement/.

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Contact: Colleen Kane, associate director of UM Civic Engagement, 406-243-5128, colleen.kane@mso.umt.edu.