Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Invitation to the “4YG WashU” Dialogue

Hi everyone,

Over the past three weeks, I have had an amazing collection of conversations with all of you. Through these dialogues, we created a vision of a movement emerging at Wash U. This vision does not belong to any one person, as it has evolved and transformed through each unique conversation. While the idea of "4YG WashU” draws much of its inspiration from the global 4YG campaign, the vision of bringing about complete social transformation on Wash U’s campus is truly the result of all of our collective contributions.

These wonderful conversations have allowed me to sustain my energy, passion, and belief that a cultural shift is actually possible. One of the most rewarding experiences over the past three weeks has been watching people wake up to see a higher potential for our personal lives and for our society. This process of “waking up” is truly inspiring, and it gives me great hope for what we can accomplish together.

However, hope is easily lost. The dream of truly transforming Wash U, St. Louis, and ultimately the broader world is a beautiful and inspiring idea, but I none of us can change the world on our own. When we single-handedly confront the ugliness of the world and fail to make a difference, despair, resignation, or apathy may replace our once vibrant sense of hope. I believe that only by working together and supporting onre another can we sustain our commitment to creating a truly just, thriving, and peaceful world.

Last night, a group of nine of us gathered at the Wash U Co-op for an inaugural 4YG potluck. We engaged in dialogue about the various cultural transformations we want to see to live lives that are more engaging and ensure a just, sustainable, and thriving future. For a movement to grow, this conversation must continue throughout the summer and slowly spread throughout campus once students return in the fall.

The potluck attendees decided to create a google group to allow us to continue to dialogue throughout the summer. By intentionally communicating through this group, we hope to sustain an e-mail conversation about team learning, systems thinking, transformative social change, and growing a movement.

To join the google group, go to http://groups.google.com/group/4YGWashU and click “Apply for Membership.” During the next few days, I will send out a short e-mail each day with the google group link and an inspiring article, video, or blogpost. After a few days have passed, all conversations will move to the google group. Therefore, it is your choice to join the 4YGWashU google group. I encourage you to join only if you are intent on participating, as the group will flourish only if its members are committed to continuing dialogue.

Thank you all for taking part in this experiment. Tomorrow I will send another e-mail and reading, and I promise that tomorrow's message will be considerably shorter. I look forward to continuing this collective conversation throughout the summer and into the fall.

Have a blessed and fulfilling day,

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