This past week, we’ve talked a lot about core values. What are our values? How do we practice these values? How can we push to live these values in our everyday lives?

On Tuesday 1/22, we split into small groups to discuss issues that face us in our own hometowns, as well as all around the world. Some examples of these groups were corruption, natural distasters, gun violence, women’s rights, racial equality, etc.

We talked about why these issues are pressing in our current day, and how we can educate others about them. We made lists of what we would choose to teach about each topic - what are some things we would want younger generations to know.

The group I was a part of focused on women’s rights. We talked about the #MeToo movement, the media and stigmas that surround women today, sexual assault, sex education, and personal stories about the topic.

Separating into these groups and learning about these topics in a little more depth was extremely interesting. Listening to others share why they believe sex ed is so important, why they believe certain stereotypes surround the female population, why they chose to be a part of this group , etc. was eye opening.

a year in review: google

After gathering in these groups & debriefing on what we discussed, we delved into values a little bit more. Google puts together short videos each year called “A Year in Review.” We watched each video from 2014 through 2018. Each video rehashed what people searched for each year.

Watching just how far we’ve come as a nation was inspiring. Watching and noticing repeating events was upsetting. However, in each video, hope & love were always mentioned. This was uplifting - knowing that so many people were still in search of that - even through some of the most difficult years. We discussed as a group, what we hope to see in Google’s 2019 video.

Some answers included:

  • Love and acceptance

  • Hope

  • Equality

  • Less fear

  • Unity

In one workshop, we were asked to define one of our core values. I chose open mindedness.

I defined open mindedness as:

The will to gain a new perspective; the will to walk in some else’s shoes. Living in harmony - not judging or making assumptions about other people, places, ideas or beliefs.

This workshop shed a new light on why we must live our values. I learned that not just believing in them or practicing them sometimes, is enough. If you care deeply about something, it is your job to live that every single day.



On Friday 1/25, we had our Leadership Roundtable event. Over 15 people from all different backgrounds, came to talk with us as a cast, about what it means to be a leader. This experience was incredible. Each leader had a completely different perspective on what leadership meant to them. Hearing from each person & learning about what they spend their lives doing was an amazing learning experience. I was able to talk with five of the people who joined us: Caryn, Amy, Brenton, Terry and Jeff. From UWP alumni, to young philosophy/history/performance majors, these people spanned a large area of leadership backgrounds. What made this event so captivating - was that each leader had something new to share. We were able to ask questions about what inspired them to be where they are today, why they decided to do what they do, how they motivate themselves on the daily, and (if an UWP alumni), what their experience with the program was like.


Jeff spoke with our group about the concept of going from good to great. He discussed with us three different groups of people: the dreamers, the planners and the do-ers. We as people, tend to fall into one group. We sometimes fall into more than one group, but never all three. This opened my eyes to becoming more of a planner and a do-er. Because like Jeff told us, a dream is just a dream until it’s acted upon.

The #1 thing that stuck with me in talking to these leaders, was something Brenton told our group: don’t wait for permission. I’ve thought about this since Friday. So many times throughout our lives we have new & interesting ideas, beliefs that we are passionate about and want to do something with. But so often, we are waiting for permission. Permission to move forward, permission to ask questions, permission to take a chance. The best ideas, inventions & creations came from those who didn’t wait for permission. This is something that will stick with me throughout my semester with Up With People, as well as throughout the rest of my life.

Values. This past week was full of new lessons, activities & experiences focused around values. Learning about just how prominent our values are in our day to day lives, and how we have a responsibility to live out these values, was a new and incredible experience that I am so grateful to have had.