CALM Buddies Comes to Southwestern– A Student-Led Meditation Group
A man in chacos, short-shorts, and a snapback comes up to me and intensely gazes into my eyes.
“Are you coming?” He asks, then takes a huge gulp out of his gallon sized water bottle.
“Huh?” I take a step backward, unsure of what to make of this man’s monotone voice and overall serene manner.
“To the CALM buddies meditation group. We meet on the lawn at 8. Here…” He sets his water bottle down on the floor and unzips his fanny pack, withdrawing a smooth, white stone. He places it in my hand. “Take an awareness rock.”
“Uhh… I’ll be there?” Before I can say anything else, he vanishes into thin air.
Ok, so I must admit that this wasn’t exactly how my first interaction with Andrew Cutting went– but it isn’t far from it. I definitely wondered if I was joining a cult, but I figured I was fine. I had some friends in the group.
CALM Buddies is an organization started at TCU by some professors who wanted to bring Contemplative Studies and practice onto their campus. Andrew wants guest speakers from TCU to come to Southwestern to talk about mindfulness and lead meditations. The organization CALM is an acronym for what the group endorses: “Compassion Awareness Living Mindfully”. When Andrew heard about this organization he decided to bring it to Southwestern by starting his own meditation group to “cultivate good vibes”. He is seeking to expand the CALM Buddies into an official Southwestern club, and has initiated a pilot program to give some SU students free access to the mindfulness app Headspace for the fall semester of 2022. This would make it so Southwestern students have access to guided meditations and other mindfulness content.
Andrew was shocked by the number of people who were interested in joining his meditation groups. Six days a week he leads a group meditation and these groups stretch anywhere between 3 to 6 people. Each meeting starts with a mental health check-in, the groups are purposely kept small so people feel comfortable sharing. Once the conversation draws to a close, Andrew talks about a meditation technique then turns on a recorded guided meditation. Andrew is hosting a meditation group for the incoming first-year students during Sprog and hopes to recruit CALM Buddy Ambassadors to lead meditation groups.
Each week I look forward to meeting with my meditation group. We’ve all become such good friends. It’s been great to find like minded people who also enjoy meditation and talking about mindfulness. CALM buddies is an amazing organization and I can’t wait to see how it grows this coming year.