Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An article about Karma and business from our Tuck School

Karma drives one to have high expectations [Times of India, 02/19/10] Authors Praveen K. Kopalle, Dartmouth College, Donald R. Lehmann, Columbia University, and John U. Farley Dartmouth College, found that some consumers strategically lower their expectations in order to try to increase their satisfaction with a product or experience.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Lenten Journey...

by Kurt

Thus begins the season of Lent, for liturgically minded Christians throughout the world. A period increased prayer and observance, marked by self-afflicted suffering. As a youth, said suffering did not take the form of abstaining from chocolate or meat - like my Catholic friends - but rather by an additional church service each Wednesday evening. Lent brings to mind, more than anything, memories of bland soup suppers and forced conversations with elderly members of my church. Honestly, I can remember little of the services themselves save for wishing I were elsewhere, playing basketball with friends, or even doing homework.

Perhaps my greatest desire, though, was to be home watching television. TV was my constant companion, growing up as a latch-key kid. I would come home from school, or sporting events, or rehearsals, turn on an episode of the Simpsons, and know I was home.

It’s not that I was (or am) particularly inactive or non-social, but rather that TV was (and is) my means of relaxing. At the end of a long work day, it remains a pretty easy means of tuning out and resting up. In and of itself, I don’t think this is such a terrible thing. But it is a terrible waste of time. And has become too much of an escape. Television is, in short, my constant comfort and companion and my greatest vice. (A boring one, to be sure)

And so for this Lenten season, I’ve decided to give it up. To rededicate myself to reading and theological study, to music and exercise. It’s not so much that I have particular goals and aims, as I’m interested in seeing what will happen when I reclaim this time for something else.

I suspect I will either mark a period of increased productivity and creativity, or a time of wandering sadness - of a humorous sort.

Two more responses...

We do more than respond to campus issues, but these statements by our Campus Issues group make for easy posts...

Published 2/15/09

United Campus Ministers on Islamic Awareness
We, United Campus Ministers at Dartmouth, representing the spectrum of spiritual traditions on this campus, honor the recent efforts of the al Nur Muslim Student Association in bringing Islamic Awareness Week to Dartmouth. We welcome the balancing perspective of Muslims in our community to the fear generated by persistent reports of war and violence in the name of Islam. We thank al Nur for their efforts in promoting understanding and learning for the entire Dartmouth Community.
Those who participated in the events of the past week found honest student panels, conversations of collective responsibility, open prayer services and recitations of the Quran, and a keynote address by leading American Islamic Scholar, Imam Zaid Shakir. We recognize that one week of presentations is not enough. Many on campus could not attend.
But we are grieved and angered that some have mocked Al Nur and its leaders anonymously with online postings - in jest or boredom perhaps. But let us be clear. When we elevate ourselves and demonize others, we are the ones who foster conflict. When we do not stand behind our words and own our own prejudice, we are the ones who foster fear and misunderstanding. Such incidents underscore the need for the very dialog that Al Nur has initiated and which we must continue.
Dartmouth - like the world - is diverse, not only in terms of race and gender but in belief and background. So are the campus ministers, standing in today for the role played long ago by a single protestant preacher. We do not strive for uniformity, but rather a collective engagement that enhances the learning of us all. Each of us arrives with the prejudice of our heritage. But by honoring our differences we become something greater than ourselves and Dartmouth becomes a community.

Response to Staff

As United Campus Ministers we want to express our deepest sympathy to those who have lost jobs in recent days. We understand that it is a tremendously difficult time. We also understand that it remains a difficult time for those who will remain uncertain about their own job security pending future announcements by the administration. Dartmouth is not alone in having to take steps to deal with the effects of the economic climate and we hold all those affected by the layoffs in our prayers.
Our religious faith teaches us that work is an important part of our individual identity. We need work, and all the recognition that comes with it. Equally, faith also teaches us that when one of us hurts we all hurt. Many of us have worked with and been supported by those who have lost their jobs. We will miss them and all that they have contributed to our common life. We also extend our compassionate understanding to those who have had to make difficult decisions that affect the livelihood of others. While no one has sought the current situation, the losses affect each of us in the Dartmouth community and in the broader local community.
As the United Campus Ministers we want to take this opportunity to remind all employees, staff and faculty of the college that we stand ready to provide pastoral and spiritual support to those who are affected by the layoffs. Most of our ministry is directed to students, but without the staff and faculty of Dartmouth those students would not have the tremendous opportunities for which Dartmouth is rightly famous. If you need pastoral or spiritual support please visit the Tucker Foundation website to identify a campus minister within your tradition whom you would feel comfortable speaking to.
We are a diverse group and we represent many different perspectives on faith and many different perspectives on life at Dartmouth. On one thing we are agreed, our traditions all speak of hope arising out of the most difficult of times. We hope that those of you who find solace and inspiration in religious faith will join us in continuing to pray for all those, locally and globally, who are adversely affected by these difficult economic times.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Squash Heckling Incident

In response to the following incident, as reported by the Valley News -  Dartmouth Students Slur Harvard Athletes During Squash Match   - and ongoing conversation within the Dartmouth Community, the United Campus Minsters released the following statement:

A Statement from the United Campus Ministers
(Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, The Tucker Foundation)

We, as Dartmouth's United Campus Ministers, serve a broad constituency of students at Dartmouth.  Like others, we wish to express our deep concern and regret over the recent incident involving Dartmouth students and supporters at a recent Squash match with Harvard.  Regardless of intent, it was sad day for all of us who are part of this community.  We are grateful that those who engaged in this conduct have apologized and that the College has expressed both public and personal apologies to those who were the target of these remarks.

As a community of learning, we recognize truly transformational learning as a constant process - intellectual, social and moral.  We do not seek perfection, but cannot cease seeking something better.

The public conversation surrounding this event has largely centered on outrage, indifference or embarrassment.  However, as Campus Ministers, we believe that this presents a compelling opportunity for our community to engage in serious examination of language we use, whether at sporting events, in residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, or throughout Dartmouth College. 

The problem, we believe, is more endemic than simply untoward remarks in the heat of a sporting event.  We have too easily come to accept the private use of language which is detrimental to the values of our Dartmouth community.

The December 2nd event provides all of us with occasion to examine, to reflect, and to transform our community both publicly and privately. Instead of receding into safe and private spheres, let us take this opportunity to engage with one another more honestly, more thoughtfully and more respectfully.  Only thus can we truly live up to our community's potential.  As campus ministers, we want to extend an offer to engage all segments of our community in whatever way that we may be helpful.

We pray that our community will strive to engage in a transformational learning process through both private, confidential group discussions as well as public forums.  Civil and meaningful discourse on the issues of prejudice, be it misogyny, homophobia, racism, or anti-semitism must be brought to light, for only then will the darkness of these attitudes dissipate.

Let us hope that we engage in such further discourse and thus reflect the best of what it means to be part of the Dartmouth experience.