Sara Schairer, a Stanford University-trained compassion teacher, founded COMPASSION IT. This is the organization’s first time working with sports teams.
“Hey, these are two rivals that can come together and treat each other with respect, right?” Schairer said. “We thought this is a great platform — ACC Sportsmanship Week — it is the perfect week to be sharing this message of compassion in sportsmanship.”
Schairer usually gives talks to schools and institutions in San Diego, where the nonprofit was founded.
“I think what’s cool about this is that, often times, people who are attracted to COMPASSION IT are already into this kind of work,” she said. “They’re into mindfulness or yoga, but by working with athletic teams we’re reaching a whole different audience of people.”
Schairer thinks the impact of the rivals working together will help people realize they do not have to hate each other just because they support different teams.
“We hope that this is just the beginning of this partnership between COMPASSION IT, Duke and Carolina,” she said. “Hopefully, in the fall, we can do this again and even do more with it.”
Maggie Berra, a junior and former UNC rower who helped introduce COMPASSION IT to UNC, said when she heard about the program she fell in love with the idea and wanted to help bring it to campus.
“I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people doing this, and it really opened my eyes to what compassion truly means,” Berra said.