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Danbury's WestConn Opens Center For Compassion

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gives a sold-out public talk at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury in October Photo Credit: File photo
Western Connecticut State University has become a “University of Compassion.” Photo Credit: Daily Voice

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University in Danbury has become home to the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation after gaining approval from the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education, it announced in a press release.

WestConn has vowed to keep alive the spirit of compassion show by the Dalai Lama during an October visit to the Danbury campus, and it officially became a University of Compassion in October.

Now, the university's new center will serve as a research hub for the local community to link people and organizations together to alleviate societal issues as well as raise money for local charities. Christopher Kukk, professor of political science and director of the university's honors program, said the center also could be a hub for research to help other universities and cities cultivate compassion.

The university also started the Compassion and Creativity Club as a grassroots effort that along with the center can "weave compassion in more meaningful ways throughout the community,” Kukk said in a statement. “We were started from the ground up — we started with students.” The City of Danbury has also followed Western’s lead by becoming a City of Compassion.

This spring the university senate committee voted to make WCSU the second university of compassion in the country. Western is one of two universities in the country recognized by Compassion Action Network as a compassionate university.

The other is Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., a school founded in 1814 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. WestConn is guiding Stanford University, the College of New Jersey and the University of Hartford on the steps needed to become a compassionate university.

The Center has a governing board and an advisory board of community members, mostly area business leaders.

“When we became a university of compassion, not only were we hoping to have it become a more important part of our everyday activities on campus, but it’s spilled over into the community," Kukk said. "In one way, we helped Danbury become a city of a compassion. Our students have brought compassion into the community by working on projects that have raised money for local charities.”

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