Common Experience

An annual program designed to cultivate a common intellectual conversation across campus, to strengthen the sense of community at Southeast and in the region, to encourage open discussion, civil discourse, and critical thinking, and to enhance the reputation of Southeast as a regional center of learning excellence.

Common Experience Logo


The theme of the 2014-15 Common Experience is “The Gift of Empathy: Seeing the World through the Eyes of Another.”  Empathy is perhaps the most advanced of all communication skills ( It is a selfless act, it enables us to learn more about people and relationships with people - it is a desirable skill beneficial to ourselves, others, and society. Phrases such as ‘being in your shoes’ and ‘soul mates’ imply empathy - empathy has even been likened to a spiritual or religious state of connection with another person or group of people.

It is important to note the difference between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy and empathy are both acts of feeling, but with sympathy you feel for the person; you are sorry for them or you pity them, but you do not specifically understand what they’re feeling and you remain distant from them. Sympathy is feeling FOR the person whereas empathy is feeling WITH the person. Empathy is a much more active process – you are actually WITH the person. Sometimes we are left with little choice but to feel sympathetic because we really cannot understand the plight or predicament of someone else. It may not always be easy, or even possible, to empathize with others but through shared experiences, good communication skills, and some imagination we can work towards more empathetic feelings. Research has suggested that individuals who can empathize enjoy better relationships with others and greater well-being through life (

Over the course of 2014-15 we are going to provide a variety of programs and presentations which we hope will enable you to develop your skill of empathy. We encourage you to come join us.

Schedule of Events


Empathy in Education: Designing Courses that Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners

Tue., August 19, 2014 
University Center 127, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Introduction to Autism

Fall Semester, Thursdays 
Hillside Hall 202, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Do You Really Know Me?

Tue., September 9, 2014 
Meadow Lodge, 12 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Understanding Autism

Tue., September 16, 2014 
3rd floor of the IU Southeast Library, 12:20 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Common Experience Movie Night – Temple Grandin

Thu., September 18, 2014 
Ogle Center Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Book Discussion of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon (2003)

Mon., September 22, 2014 
New Albany Floyd County Public Library Auditorium, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.


A Humanitarian Welcome: Understanding Refugee Settlement in America

Tue., October 7, 2014 
3rd floor of the IU Southeast Library, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Empathy and Learning about Peoples of the World: A Discussion by IU Southeast Study Abroad Students

Wed., October 15, 2014 
University Center 127, 12:20 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Common Experience Movie Night – Freak the Mighty

Wed., October 22, 2014 
University Center 127, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Empathy for Animals:  Reaching out for Animal Welfare

Mon., October 27, 2014 
University Center 127, 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


I Know How You Feel: Having Empathy for and Sharing the Right Words with Others

Wed., November 5, 2014 
3rd floor of the IU Southeast Library, 12:20 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Autism is a World Discussion
Mon., November 10, 2014 
New Albany Floyd County Library Auditorium, 6:30 p.m.

Discussion of the Common Experience book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon (2003)

Tue., November 18, 2014 
3rd Floor of the IU Southeast Library, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

25th Annual Model United Nations Security Council Conference for High School Students

Thursday (5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) November 20 and Friday (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), November 21, 2014 
University Center (all rooms including the Hoosier Rooms)



Balancing Empathy and High Expectations for K-12 Students Who are Challenged

Thu., January 22, 2015 
3rd floor of the IU Southeast Library, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Forgiving Dr. Mengele
Wed., January 28, 2015 
Steifler Recital Hall, Ogle Center, 7:30 p.m.


Understanding the Holocaust
Wed., February 4, 2015 
Hoosier Room, 6:00 p.m.
The Holocaust and the Power of Forgiveness
Tue., February 10, 2015 
Stem Auditorium, Ogle Center, 6:00 p.m.

Common Experience Movie Night – Murderball

Thu., February 12, 2015 
University Center 127, 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


Giving a Woop: Helping Yourself in Helping Others

Thu., March 5, 2015 
3rd floor of the IU Southeast Library, 12:20 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

A Visit to the American Printing House for the Blind

Fri., March 6, 2015 
Leave IU Southeast at 9 a.m.

Understanding Autism

Thu., March 12, 2015 
Jeffersonville Township Public Library, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Jeffersonville Friday Book Club Discussion of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon (2003)

Fri., April 10, 2015 
Jeffersonville Township Public Library, 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.