Vermont professor to lecture on finding balance

by Julie Glasgow | 10/14/05 5:00am

Students overwhelmed by their hectic and pressure-packed schedules can find advice on how to manage their lives Saturday at a conference entitled, "Finding Balance: Leadership, Spirituality and Health" to be held in Collis Commonground.

Organized by a committee of Dartmouth students and faculty, this weekend's conference has already created quite a buzz on campus. About 145 people have registered for the event, which has been planned for 160 total participants.

The conference will promote leadership, introspection and alternative methods of stress management within the Dartmouth community, according to Lisa Thum, one of the conference's organizers and dean of the Class of 2007.

Keynote speaker Robert J. Nash, professor of integrated professional studies at the University of Vermont, will address the event's theme of incorporating personal spirituality into leadership in his lecture, "The Courage to Lead with Spirit and Joy."

"Obviously at Dartmouth we're a bunch of leaders who go all sorts of different places," Thum said. "We talk a lot about leadership here in various ways, but sometimes we don't integrate leading from the heart, leading from the soul."

Students, faculty and staff are all invited to attend. Group and panel discussions, activities designed to aid reflection and closing remarks will all follow the keynote address.

Thum distinguished between religion and spirituality and stressed that this conference does not strive to be religious.

"Part of the reason you're at college is to find the meaning and purpose in your life," she said.

According to Thum, college students today are more focused than ever on the role that spirituality plays in their lives, whether or not it is in the form of an organized religion.

Participants will be encouraged to explore their spiritual health and different aspects of introspection through activities such as 10-minute massages, a labyrinth walk, musical performances, yoga and meditation sessions and poetry readings.

"I think Dartmouth could be a healthier place," Thum said. "A lot of us are like these do-do-do, go-go-go people. In order to keep up with it, it's really hard to lead a balanced life."

Despite the large number of people who have already signed up, Thum encouraged students to stop by for the keynote lecture and group activities.

Campus organizations have also stepped up to support the conference. Among the sponsors are the Dean of the College, Health Services, Career Services, Human Resources, the President's Office, and the Tucker Foundation. Sigma Delta, Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Xi Delta sororities will provide free childcare to the children of those in attendance.

Thum is pleased with the attention the conference has received so far and hopes to hold a similar event next year.

"Dartmouth students do all these amazing things," she said. "But sometimes you haven't really incorporated how that experience changed you."

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