Heard on Campus: Susan Russell, Penn State Laureate

February 11, 2015

"I gave my students this year, a kind of way to engage with the world... I call it the Assignment. Imagine yourself, for 15 weeks, making eye contact with every person that walks toward you.

"In a generation, and a time period, where we are so attracted to distraction, making the commitment to actually look people in the eye, as they walk toward you, actually changes you. Because that part of you that understands that we are in it together -- all of a sudden, you see someone walking towards you, that is in it to help you, and your active connection to people is our possibility as a culture...

"We have created a culture where we actively separate ourselves from each other. Actively separate. But what's great is that we built it. We can — I don't want to say unbuild it — but we can begin painting the room a different color."

—Susan Russell, associate professor of theatre and the 2014-15 Penn State Laureate, on the topic of "Making Change Make Sense," at the Penn State Forum Speaker Series held Feb. 11 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus.

Russell's website, dignity.psu.edu, facilitates conversations among Penn Staters and individuals worldwide about the topic of “Dignity,” the ongoing theme in her presentations during her laureate year.

Last Updated February 11, 2015