Guest Post: Compassionate U: Toward a New Definition of Compassion

This guest post is by Shawn Sweeney, an IHE M.Ed. graduate and National Program Coordinator for the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots and Shoots program. Shawn is founder and principal contributor of Compassionate U.

Today we have more information available to us than ever before. Knowledge that once took a very long time to transmit can now be available to us at our fingertips in a matter of seconds. All one has to do is pull out their smartphone or tablet pc and it’s right there.

As humane educators, teaching people to make decisions consistent with their values, the availability of this information can make those decisions easier and more difficult at the same time. We want to make compassionate decisions that show the kind of care and concern that we have for other people, for animals and for the environment we all share.

When we do research about a certain product, activity, food, you name it, we may find that a decision we were about to make might not be so compassionate. To address this challenge, we need to weigh our options and make our decisions accordingly. We can do this on our own, or we can choose to do it in community, where the decision can be much easier. And it is community, that provided the platform for our new website, Compassionate U.

Created this summer, Compassionate U, seeks to provide a space where dialogue around compassionate decision making for world issues takes place. Where people are welcome to discuss their concerns about how to approach the world, and how to live a compassionate life. Divided into six sections, this site offers everything from recipe and book reviews, to personal stories (both from in-house writers and guest writers), to columns that offer advice and spark discussion on compassionate decision making.

Compassionate U was founded by a group of my friends who were seeking to build community around these issues for everyone, but as 20-somethings growing in our respective professions, especially for our generation, as we proceed into increased leadership in our companies and communities. As a generation we are perhaps the last who remember a life without computers. A life when you had to wait, at least a little while, to get an answer to your question.

And now, with our world being completely saturated with information, as we begin to move into leadership and decision making, we have a great responsibility to make choices that both address the most pressing issues of our time, as well as show the kind of compassion of which we are capable. Compassionate U is exactly a place where we can discuss and share dialogue on these and many other issues, so that we can be confident in our decisions, and work towards a more just, humane and better world.

Compassionate U offers opportunities for people to share their stories of compassion; whether they are triumphs or challenges, all are welcome. This is a great opportunity for new humane educators or people who are new to humane education entirely to reach out to a community who cares to share their story and begin discussion around humane education issues. For more information about writing a guest post email

Compassionate U is looking for volunteers! Specifically, we need an editor and a social media guru to help with these aspects of the blog. If you're interested in either of these areas, please email

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1 comment for "Guest Post: Compassionate U: Toward a New Definition of Compassion"

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