Youth for Change continues the unique UConn tradition of “Metanoia,” which has been observed since 1970 as period of intense investigation, deliberation, and understanding on an issue of critical importance to the university. The word “metanoia” comes from the Greek term of “change of mind” or “change of heart” and has been associated with processes of meditation, personal reflection, conversion, and commitment to change. For UConn, Metanoia is intended to facilitate a dialogue and transformation, at both the individual and institutional level, through the participation of all parts of our community–students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and partners–at all of our campuses.
The first Metanoia was held in 1970 and focused on “Racial Respect” and was designed to “give thousands of students and staff a chance to learn about what has been happening between black and white people at the University and what they can do to improve race relations.” Metanoia on the Topic of Racial Respect, May 6, 1970.pdf (UConn Archives and Special Collections)
Among the most important Metanoia was the 1979 Day of Metanoia on Community Violence. Coming in response repeated incidents of racist incidents on campus and a violent assault on a graduate student. The resulting Metanoia was an intense and emotional self-examination in which each member of the UConn community was asked “to look to him or herself, to ask how he or she contributed to violence, and, in turn, how individually as well as institutionally we could contribute to reducing and eliminating violence.” This Metanoia helped to establish the Women’s Center’s Violence Against Women Prevention Program, which remains a national model for combating gender-based violence on college campuses. Day of Metanoia: Violence in the Community: A Report from the Steering Committee.pdf, 1979 (UConn Archives and Special Collections)