50 Years ago Scott Geller arrived on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute what is now know as Virginia Tech University, land of the "Hokies", Scott was a very young man then, just out of school himself, and was about to embark on an incredible journey that would take him all around the world teaching others not just to embrace the gifts that were so readily available to them, but to make part of their life's mission to be "Here to Share and Care" Come join me for this fascinating interview that includes the Mastered presentation of the AC4P theme song.
50 Years ago Scott Geller arrived on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute what is now know as Virginia Tech University, land of the "Hokies", Scott was a very young man then, just out of school himself, and was about to embark on an incredible journey that would take him all around the world teaching others not just to embrace the gifts that were so readily available to them, but to make part of their life's mission to be "Here to Share and Care" Please join me in this fascinating interview including the AC4P theme song.
A New Life Beginning:
It all started in 1969 when Scott was at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and he was on his way to New Jersey. When most young folks his age were planning to travel North to Woodstock, Scott had other ideas. He embraced the University’s original motto with open arms, which is “Ut Prosim” that I may serve. V Tech is the Land Grant University, which means, it is not enough to just teach students, “we have to extend our teaching to the world. Faculty is not only evaluated on their teaching and research but also on their outreach. That is to what extent are you reaching out with your knowledge? All my life I have wanted to make a difference, and I am convinced that psychology makes a difference.”
April 16th 2007 was a horribly tragic day for everyone at V Tech, Scott was not on Campus that day and received a phone call stating not to come in that day. “I was not on campus, I was going to go to school, and I got a phone call saying don’t come in Dr. Geller, the school is locked down, so I turned on the TV, and there it was, first two people shot and killed, and then it was 10 then it was 20, and then it was 32, and of course we want to remember there were 33 that day, the shooter also died and his family was devastated. This individual was bullied all through grammar school, and when he came to V Tech, he had no friends, he lived with 3 suite mates who didn’t pay attention to him, he went to class with sunglasses and a baseball cap, what I’m trying to say is the culture is partly to blame also, behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If people would only realize that we're all in this together, the world is interdependent.”
The Art of Conversation:
“Empathy means, you try to see it from the other person's perspective, and we are not doing that, people have conversations and instead of really listening, they are planning the next thing they are going to say, it’s about winning in a conversation rather than sharing, rather than empathic listening, when you try to figure out, where is the other person coming from, and how can i help? What can I do to help this person feel better about the situation? We have become a ticket or click it society, and I think sometimes people reach out to assert their freedom. Sometimes we believe that our individuality is being threatened by top-down rules and policies, by bullying, by the bullies, and people are feeling it, and I think sometimes people are lashing out to assert some sense of personal control, and sometimes that lashing out is aversive negative behavior.”
AC4P, the birth, the synergy.
How V tech responded to this tragedy. “If only more would actively care” an editorial written by Scott in 1991, “I had developed wristbands that said actively caring for safety back in those days. But after the tragedy, I need to say, people showed love, caring, and hugging, I mean after we experienced this, there was more concern, I got hundreds of emails, people asking me, are you ok? So we reacted in a very positive way, and my students and I said, you know, couldn't we make a world like that, do we have to have a tragedy before we realize the need to reach out for each other? That is when Actively caring for people got bigger. We now have an Actively caring for people club on campus, and this is a group of students who look for ways to spread the notion of kindness, of interdependence, of looking out for each other."
The Song, "Here to Share and Care"
Notable contributors to this song: Inspired by Scott Geller. Christine Mercy Johnson songwriter and inspiration. Kim Copeland producer, Rachel Williams Vocals! Buddy Hyatt Piano and cool symphonic chops!, Jim Hyatt Bass, Glen Duncan Acoustic Guitar, Shawn Fichter Drums, James Mitchell, electric guitars. Kelly Schoenfeld engineer. Executive producers Christine Mercy Johnson, and James Kevin O'Connor (vocals)
The TedX talk with 6.2 Million views!
Please take a look at this amazing TEDx talk and how it is impacting people with inspiration and motivation. "What is missing today in everyday life is Gratitude, people are less attentive to others in their life space. I wish every American could spend one day in a third world country, or in Africa, spend one day in a country that does not have the luxuries that we have. I was talking to my daughter today and she was telling me how when she comes back she wants to kneel down and kiss the ground in appreciation of what she has right here in this country.
My challenge speaking to 400 or 500 students is to keep them engaged, and when I am the only speaker, I have to have information that will turn them on and keep them engaged. A select # of those students end up working in our research center.
Getting the students off of their cell phones. Teaching them about BF Skinner, we have distracted driving, we have distracted walking for heaven sake. This button pushing reinforcement machine, that is keeping us away from empathic interaction with other people. I tell my students you don't got to come to class, you get to come to class, I don't take attendance, it's your choice, it's increasing your sense of increasing your competence, and community. If they perceive choice, competence, and community, they are more likely to be self-motivated.
"Hawaii yes, but one of my favorite places to go to is Australia, their mission in the government is "duty of care", not that everyone follows it, but that is one of their philosophies, duty of care, so imagine I bring in the actively caring for people movement into their culture and people , yes that's what we're about, so Australia was a really fun place I have done a number of speaking engagements there. I have spoken in Sydney and Melbourne, but let's face it, nothing is better than America!, wow, how lucky we are!"
What are you most proud of about V tech? "I have been to a number of Universities, and no University beats Vtech in terms of facilities, the Hokie stone, and the culture here, the Ut Prosim culture, it is pretty special. I am not ready to leave this place, my TEDx talk by the way with over 6 million views has a V tech banner in the background, so I am pleased to know that over 6 million people get to see the term Virginia Tech, and it is not a technological school, it is a university that teaches other subjects than engineering.
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