Today I interviewed the leaders of the CU Boulder “Hear Someone Out” Campaign which is aimed at reducing hostile and incivil conversations within the workplace, relationships, and the overall CU Boulder community. Their work stood out as a great way to improve active listening, patience, and understanding within our community. The team is led by Peyton Miller, Henry Collins, Alicia Whitman, and Helena Regan, all of whom are senior strategic communications majors at CU Boulder. Today we discussed what the campaign was about and how the team hopes to bring this campaign into their lives after CU.
- Her Campus CU Boulder: What is the “Hear Someone Out” campaign about?
Hear Someone Out: “The ‘Hear Someone Out’ campaign is about promoting civil discourse among CU students in order to address the issue of incivility through our social platforms and online pledge. We recognize that, especially now that we are consumed with technology more than ever, respectful conversations and behavior has been on the decline. Whether this is with “cancelling” someone, blocking a friend instead of communicating with them, or demonizing people we disagree with (without attempting to empathetically understand them), we are creating more division in our society. The ‘Hear Someone Out’ campaign urges fellow students to do just that, to hear someone out for what they are truly saying in a respectful and polite way.”
The emphasis that really stood out to me while interviewing the team was that their approach to this is to increase civil and humane conversations with our peers and view this as a chance to grow. College is such a pivotal point in our lives where we develop a lot of our professional communication skills, so focusing on active listening and empathetic leadership is a great way to grow as an individual.
- HCCU: “How did you get the idea to start this campaign?
The team described how they started this project through their capstone course followed by their participation with PRSSA and the idea that we should follow the Golden Rule and treat others the way we want to be treated, which has since turned into a tangible idea that has evolved much farther.
HSO: “We got started with this campaign through our capstone course called the Bateman Case Study Competition. This nationwide competition, with 75 teams from different universities, calls upon students to create the most successful public relations campaign. This year’s topic is the issue of incivility in America, which has affected our society, political climate, economy and work performance. We decided to create a campaign that we can carry out locally in our Boulder, Colorado community at CU. We have tried to really promote a simple message to students, with examples of incivility that they can relate with.”
- HCCU: “What do you hope to gain from this campaign, specifically within the boulder student body?”
HSO: “We hope for students to gain awareness about the issue of incivility in society from this campaign. We hope that by promoting this campaign, we can instill ideas and encouragement of civility, kindness, and empathy among students at CU. Our goal is to change at least one person, or at least one mind, about the way they present themself when facing an uncivil situation.”
The team has not only made this pledge to themselves, but have also formed their social media presence around tips that can be used everyday to promote civility. They have engaged with the student body through conversations, Zoom classroom discussions, and social distance tabling on Norlin Quad. You can find their social media here and their online pledge here.
- HCCU: “How do you want to see this campaign evolve in the next 5 years?”
HSO: “In the next 5 years, we hope that we can affect the behavior of students at CU with our message of civility, especially as our fellow students enter the workforce. The mission of PRSSA with this competition is to position the public relations profession as a tool to counter incivility and to set an example of civil behavior. Therefore, we hope that through this campaign we do just that with setting our fellow students up for carrying out civil behavior into their next roles as professionals.”
Especially as this team, and the other seniors of CU, enter into the professional workforce in the next few months, we have an opportunity to start changing the pattern currently happening. As a new grad at the bottom of the corporate ladder, they challenge themselves and their peers to not react with hostility to their coworkers and to try to stop the cycle of incivility you advance in your career.
To sum up this interview, (1) Be empathetic in your daily life and with the people around you, and (2) Listen to learn, not to respond. Discussion and human interaction is such a fundamental part of our human existence, so they challenge us all to keep our humanity in our discussions and to embrace learning from one another with a civil heart.