Group photo from the C2C in Brooklyn, NY on May 14, 2019

A group of Wake Foresters gathered over dinner in Brooklyn, NY on May 14, 2019 to discuss Pro Humanitate.

Overview and highlights of our Call to Conversation:

  • Our collective dissection of the themes informing Pro Humanitate traced an arc that many of us described following from high school forward.
    • In early adulthood, Pro Humanitate took the form of performing volunteer service… though too often because it was required in high school, and/or in order to build resumes and college applications.
    • Later in and soon after college, the term came to mean a broad, mission-based commitment to causes…though frequently understood in abstract/generic forms.
    • As we’ve moved through our twenties, Pro Humanitate has taken on more ‘incremental’ meaning, often involving sources of personal fulfillment and joy…though, as one participant asked the group, is that a more elegant form of selfishness?
    • Finally, for the Gen X’ers (40s/early 50s) among our group, the term is increasingly understood through the example of specific individuals: we heard about C2C comrades’ sisters, spouses, mothers/fathers, homeless fellow subway-riders, joyous van drivers, etc.
  • After noticing the interesting generational split at our table (reflected in points 1-3 v. 4 above), we took a run at explaining that: poignantly, the millennials among us noted that there aren’t that many heroes worth emulating at present, or at least none who aren’t cut down on social media more swiftly than they rose to notoriety. We then wondered aloud whether motivation matters: if you’re performing a worthwhile act, does it make a difference why you’re doing so? And besides the riveting opening stories in response to our prompt, our longest conversation took up whether and how we can teach Pro Humanitate at Wake Forest.
  • Nearly all of our expressed takeaways involved a commitment to spark further extended conversations on deeper themes. As on participant summarized: “This is Pro Humanitate—and it’s what the world needs right now.”