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A Commitment to Community

Friends and housemates wish they had a dime for every time Cecelia Capanna ’15 says the word “community.”

“I am very committed to community,” she says. “Whether that’s through community development, community outreach or urban studies, I am very committed.”

Capanna says Earlham’s Human Development and Social Relations major was a nearly perfect way to study community.

“There are 1,012 different ways to apply your HDSR degree to what you want to do,” she exclaims. “The major is super flexible, and I’ve learned so many things.

“HDSR is one of the most unique programs. It is one of the most truly interdisciplinary programs. We read theory and study sociology, anthropology, philosophy and psychology. HDSR ties it all together to understand how the individual interacts with one another, within society and within social systems. HDSR is pretty perfect for me.”

Capanna was selected as the College Meeting for Worship speaker during Religious Emphasis Week at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25, in Stout Meetinghouse. Her topic is “Do Unto Others: Living Into the Golden Rule.”

Capanna remembers the day in second grade when she first heard the Golden Rule. She didn’t think about it again until senior year when she delved more deeply into the meaning of love and friendship.

“If you want friendship, show friendship,” she says. “This has been a guiding principle for me.”

Capanna says she felt drawn to Earlham because of its size, its academic strengths and because of the focus on community.

“A big part of my identity at Earlham is being a part of the communities,” she explains.

Capanna has been associated with the student coffee co-operative, Co-op hall, residential life assistants, Quaker Fellows and Interfaith House. She also found community in her major.

“One of the great things about HDSR is that you take the curriculum as a cohort with roughly the same people,” she explains. “All of these steps we took together as a common group of 10-12 people.”

During a conversation with a friend, Capanna recognized that those who study sociology or anthropology often see the bigger picture, but sometimes at the expense of the smaller details. As she describes it, they look into the woods and see the forest.

“When I look into the woods, I see the individual trees,” she explains. “While some people talk about improving human rights, trying to right the institutional wrongs, in a larger, conceptual or theoretical way, I think on a very micro level to the importance of individual relationships and the role individuals play in a community. My friends make fun of me because I am such a community person.”

Cecelia Capanna

Cecelia Capanna 2015

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.

Major at Earlham: Human Development and Social Relations

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