Published: Nov. 28, 2023

Members of the CU Boulder community came together Oct. 9 through Oct. 11 for the CU Boulder Days of Compassion, a three-day series of events organized by the University Libraries, Renée Crown Wellness Institute and the Contemplative Resource Center in celebration of the 2023-24 Buffs One Read, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. The central topic was compassion, a profound and fundamental part of the human experience and source of joy and resilience. Events included a film screening, a guided practice on the Norlin Quad and open houses.

“The Buffs One Read program is a wonderful opportunity to build community and highlight the importance of joy, shared humanity, and compassion as tools to support both personal wellbeing and social change,” said Leah Peña Teeters, outreach and education program director at the Renée Crown Wellness Institute. “We are humbled that we can come together around the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as we look to address global challenges. The teaching of this book and the associated programming are closely aligned with the Crown Institute's work aimed at building a world where every young person thrives.”

Over 175 attendees gathered at the Chancellor’s Auditorium for a film screening of "Mission Joy" on day one of the CU Boulder Days of Compassion. The documentary features a conversation between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who share wisdom from their lived experiences, ancient traditions and contemporary science.

In between clips of the documentary, Thupten Jinpa, founder of the Compassion Institute and principal author of Compassion Cultivation Training, discussed themes with panelists Reiland Rabaka, founder of the Center for African & African American Studies, and Sona Dimidjian, director of the Renée Crown Wellness Institute. The panelists explored the film's message and how compassion and joy could enhance our resilience in the face of social and environmental challenges. The panel was moderated by Michele Simpson, faculty affiliate and research associate at the Renée Crown Wellness Institute, and Holly Gayley, affiliate faculty at the Renée Crown Wellness Institute.

On day two, Jinpa returned to lead a group of more than 150 students, faculty and staff through a guided practice on the Norlin Quad. This event provided attendees with an opportunity to engage in contemplative practices while learning about the various campus services and resources available to support well-being and joy.

On the final day, open houses were organized across campus, inviting participants to explore programs and spaces that focus on fostering joy and well-being

The Renée Crown Wellness Institute’s Mindful Campus Program was a significant highlight. Participants learned about the program and the Crown Institute, and they were encouraged to take part in a drop-in mindfulness practice.

Additionally, Norlin Library welcomed visitors to explore the Mindfulness Room and participate in a zine workshop. The Libraries also distributed copies of The Book of Joy to first-year students, offered activities and practices inspired by the book, and shared ways to join the Buffs One Read community through activities like book clubs.

The Recreation Center hosted a breathwork and meditation class that integrated compassionate journaling to promote self-compassion and compassion for others.

The Contemplative Resource Center and the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education at Naropa University rounded off the day with guided mindfulness practice and outdoor exercises which allowed participants to connect with nature, fostering a deeper sense of compassion and well-being.

“We are so proud to offer the Buffs One Read  every year,” said Caroline Sinkinson, director of the Learning & Engagement team at the University Libraries. “We truly hope to build and foster cultural exchange across all our campus communities. With the Buffs One Read, we connect our students, faculty and staff with each other and our shared values of joy, compassion, interdependence and friendship.”

CU Boulder Days of Compassion and the Buffs One Read were sponsored by the University Libraries, the Renée Crown Wellness Institute and the Contemplative Resource Center.
The Buffs One Read is a program that builds community through the shared reading of one book.