New Center Dedicated to Mindfulness Set to Launch
By Brian Hiro
Cal State San Marcos is preparing to open a new center on campus dedicated to the practice of mindfulness.
The Center for Contemplative Practices officially will launch on Thursday, Nov. 10 with an event in the Kellogg Library Reading Room from 4-6 p.m. President Ellen Neufeldt will deliver remarks, and faculty and students will talk about their experiences with mindfulness.
The new center is the brainchild of Mindful CSUSM, an initiative established in 2017 to create a contemplative and compassionate community among faculty, staff and students. The center does not have a physical location; rather, it will hold its activities at different venues on campus as a way of reaching various campus audiences.
Mindfulness is the basic ability of humans to be fully present, aware of where they are and what they’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around them.
“The overall purpose of Mindful CSUSM is to support all members of the campus community through contemplative practices, pedagogy and research that foster deep learning, reduced stress, increased capacity for compassionate listening and increased well-being,” said Ranjeeta Basu, an economics professor and faculty director of the Center for Contemplative Practices. “Now more than ever before, we need to learn as a campus community how to be resilient in the face of extreme uncertainty, how to be compassionate and collaborative in our efforts to find solutions to local and global problems, and how to acknowledge each other’s humanity and treat each other with respect and dignity. This center gives us the ability to coalesce our efforts at providing these learning opportunities in a consistent, coordinated and time-sensitive way.”
Since its founding, Mindful CSUSM has offered weekly sits, workshops, faculty learning communities, forums, healing spaces, courses and research support.
Research has shown that contemplative practices can help students improve readiness to learn, reduce stress and anxiety, increase focused attention, and regulate emotional reactivity, Basu said. Consistent practice of contemplative techniques can change brain functionality and help people use their cognitive, emotional and physical selves more effectively and foster deep learning.
Basu, who also headed a planning group for the center that included 24 individuals, said CSUSM is the first school in the 23-campus California State University system to open a center specifically devoted to mindfulness.
“Establishing this center places CSUSM in excellent company with other institutions that have formal and active programs,” she said, mentioning UC San Diego, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Harvard and Vanderbilt.
Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist
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