Contributed by Charity Smith
“You’ve got to change your evil ways, baby, before I stop lovin’ you.”
On Monday, October 5th, roughly 1,100 audience members were greeted with the wise words of Carlos Santana, courtesy of Dr. Philip Zimbardo. Simple, yet sound advice, no? It is clearly a message Zimbardo took to heart when imparted to him by a powerful source of opposition, more than 40 years ago: his wife.
During Monday’s talk, hosted by the CCHP, Zimbardo gave a nod to his favorite ordinary hero, Dr. Christina Maslach, the under-celebrated whistle-blower of the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Maslach, who had previously been Zimbardo’s graduate student, was dating Zimbardo at the time of the SPE—likely making it doubly alarming to witness the scene she walked into on what would become the last night of the study. Zimbardo recounts this history-making moment in the clip below:
And with that, Zimbardo began his journey from the villain of the SPE to someone considerably more HIP. On the webpage for his newest endeavor, the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP), Zimbardo adds another title to his already crowded CV: Hero Cultivator. President and founder of HIP, Zimbardo describes the importance and communal nature of the program’s motto, Stand Up. Speak Out. Change the World., by imploring the audience to: “Change your perspective. ‘Me’ becomes ‘We,’ ‘I becomes us.’”
Counted in attendance were community members, professors, social workers, CCHP staff, and UA Board of Trustees members. However, in attendance there were none so important as the hundreds of folks that filled the rest of the room—the students. In addition to our own UA students, several groups made the trek from far and wide, including students from Stow-Munroe Falls, Mayfield, and Hayes high schools; Sinclair Community College; the College of Wooster; Ohio Wesleyan University; The Ohio State University; Tiffin University (featured in picture below); Thiel College; Penn State; University of Pittsburgh; and a host of others. A special “thank you” goes out to Chelsie Polcha and her partner Stephen, who joined us all the way from the University of South Florida—thank you, Chelsie and Stephen!
To these students, Zimbardo spoke directly. Using the story of a long-overdue conversation shared between he and a former student, Zimbardo imparted the importance of reaching out to others and expressing gratitude (contains adult language):
With so many young psychologists-in-the-making and social justice advocates of all generations in attendance, there is little doubt that Dr. Zimbardo’s legacy will be paid forward for generations to come.
The staff and students of the CCHP would like to thank Dr. Zimbardo, not only for an amazing and inspiring evening, but also for his continued support of and generous donations to the CCHP. To hear Dr. Baker’s introduction and Zimbardo’s opening remarks regarding his appreciation of and contributions to the Center, watch here: