To the Editor, The Mirror

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

We, the undersigned senior psychology majors and professor, are distressed by the amount of prejudice in the world, in our country (perhaps exacerbated by the events of 9/11), and here at Fairfield University. In our view, education should serve to decrease prejudice. The Bridge-Building Initiative sponsored by the Greater Bridgeport Council of Churches, which fosters interaction and conversation between people of different races and religions, was honored this year at the Martin Luther King Day Convocation. Let us actively participate in building bridges with our peers in Bridgeport. The Race and Education conference on March 23 occasioned many important conversations which we hope will continue. It also highlighted the positive role Fairfield University students can play in Bridgeport.

Exposure to people of other races and cultures can be a valuable learning experience – on both sides. Interacting with Housatonic Community College students or students at the University of Bridgeport would provide opportunities to get to know people of different races. Tutoring and mentoring high school students in Bridgeport are ways Fairfield University students can “give back” to the wider community. The Head Start experience in which many psychology majors have participated is valuable both to the children and to the Fairfield University students who participate, as are many of the programs run by Campus Ministry and also the experiential-learning required in some courses. Through programs such as Head Start and others, many of us have had positive experiences that have led to greater awareness and respect for diversity.

An experiential-learning component should be a requirement in every department, program or major with the sole purpose of fostering awareness of other cultures and races. Head Start, mentoring, or programs through Campus Ministry are not the only choices. Each school or major could find a way to integrate their course learning into an activity that would be enjoyable for them as well as useful to others. Our hope is that students would experience “life” through another person’s eyes. Each student at Fairfield University would have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons that could be applicable to all areas of study, whether it be in business, communications, medicine, or education. Fairfield University strives to give its students the foundation to enter the world and make a difference; let us make a difference in the way we treat each other.

If you would like to contact us for further information, or to give us feedback, please email either or


Dr. Gardner’s Modern Psychology Seminar- PY300

Jacky Beaudet Laurie Anglin Amanda Bartolatta Al Caldas Erica Cannata Kristin Gardner Victoria Hynes Karyn Kennedy Victoria Lacqua Kimberly Martin Sean McCoy Megan O’Leary Jessica Oberdorf Sharyn Sattelmair Susan Vendetti ‘ Elizabeth B. Gardner

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