Photo: Courtesy of Natania Abebe.
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Campus Cursive holds first TEDx-style Compassionate Conversations

Natania Abebe, president and founder of Campus Cursive, is dedicated to bringing humanity and compassion into the cut-throat world of academia. On November 24, her club will host the first event in their series called Compassionate Conversations.

“Compassionate Conversations will be TEDx-style talks where real students and real people from the uOttawa community will tell stories about the things that matter in life,” said Abebe.

Campus Cursive is a student-run club where members get together to write positive and anonymous letters of encouragement that they hide around campus. They also create “love bundles” for those in need.

Abebe, a third-year nursing student, was inspired to plan the series by her interest in sparking compassion and unity at the U of O.

“When you walk into a class with 300 other students, you don’t know what they’re really going through,” she said. “It would be nice to hear people talk about these things, and to let others know that they’re not alone.”

The guest speaker at the first Compassionate Conversations event will be Angela Koskie, who graduated from the U of O with her JD in 2005.

After graduating, she worked with the Royal Canadian Air Force, retiring in 2012 with the rank of Major, and now devotes much of her time to teaching yoga to veterans, at-risk youth, and others living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Koskie has struggled with what she calls “the ups and downs of life” alongside the pressure to live up to ideals. She got involved with Compassionate Conversations to share her stories and let others know that they’re not alone.

“I feel like if I can help one person, it means that all of these bad things didn’t happen in vain,” Koskie said. “I know a lot now that I wish I knew when I was younger, and I want to help people who are going through some of the same things that I did.”

The main thing Abebe hopes students take away from Compassionate Conversations is a cultivated sense of compassion for others, and the realization that everyone is struggling on some level, whether they express it outwardly or not.

“I feel like there’s a lot of apathy at our school, and a lot of misunderstanding, and I’d like to change that,” she said.

The first Compassionate Conversations event will take place on Nov. 24 from 9-11 a.m. in UCU 206.

The event will feature Koskie’s presentation during the first half, as well as the club’s regular activities during the second half. Breakfast will be provided.


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